Other Important Advice

  • You should reward your child for good oral hygiene! Just make sure the reward isn’t too sugary — the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends something like apple slices or a gold star. Xylitol candy can also be a good reward because it doesn’t cause tooth decay like regular sugar does.
  • Never share mouth germs with your child (including putting a baby’s pacifier in your own mouth to “clean” it). The bacteria that cause cavities can be transferred from your mouth to your baby. The more we give them these germs, the earlier and more likely they’ll develop cavities.
  • Pacifier use has been linked to a decreased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants less than 12 months old. Pacifiers are also encouraged to replace thumb sucking because they can be taken away more easily. Pacifier use should be discontinued by age three to reverse any permanent changes to their teeth.
  • That being said, thumbsucking is normal. It can, however, lead to misaligned teeth. You should make sure your child stops sucking their thumb before their adult teeth start coming in.
  • Teething products such as Orajel and Anbesol should never be used on children under the age of two. Try a frozen washcloth instead if your child has teething pain.
  • Your child should wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth from impacts when they play sports.