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Hey Twice fam, my name is Deep Shah. I'm a board certified pediatric dentist who practices both in private practice as well as in academia, February is Children's Dental Health Month. I partnered with my amazing friends at Twice to help bring more awareness to this, as well as answer those frequently asked questions that we get in regards to children and their oral environment. So let's get right down to it.

How much toothpaste should children use?

So the CDC, AAP, the AAPD and the ADA all recommend that children between the ages of three to six can start using a pea size amount of Florida toothpaste. If they're below that age, you probably want to stick to just a smear.

How to prevent cavities in children who can’t use fluoride?

So in the event, fluoride is an issue. There are amazing all-natural toothpastes out there that contain an ingredient called xylitol. Other than that, you're looking at diet and home care in terms of diet consuming, as least amount of sugar as possible in terms of your home care, brushing at least twice a day, flossing, at least once a day. And making sure you have an adjunct mouthwash as well, which never hurts.

How do I know when my child is able to use fluoride toothpaste? 

In terms of using a fluoride toothpaste, it’s really a personal choice. Some people like using a smear or rice grain sized drop as soon as that first tooth comes in. For those of you who are concerned about fluoride intake, you can wait until your child is able to spit.

When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

You can start to brush your child's teeth as soon as that very first tooth comes in. Remember once the first tooth comes in the entire micro flora of the mouth changes and your child is susceptible and prone to getting tooth decay.

When does my child first need to see the dentist?

I like to call this the rule of one, the first tooth or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. That's when we know when to bring your child to the dentist.

Are there certain foods my child should avoid/add to their diet to prevent tooth decay?

In essence foods and beverages that are high in sugar content should be avoided not only in kids, but also in adults. The other thing here is do you want to avoid constant infrequent snacking throughout the day? If it's sticky, it's icky and it can get stuck to your biting surface of your teeth. And also in between the teeth. Those are areas where cavities can easily start.