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Oral Health

What Parents Can Do: School Age Children

Boy holding toothbrush

As kids get older, they still need a parent's help to keep their teeth sparkling clean and healthy. Here are five tips—

1. Find out if your water has fluoride in it (check with your local water utility).

If it does, drink tap water instead of bottled water. Most bottled water does not contain enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay. If your water is not fluoridated, talk to a dentist or physician about whether your child needs fluoride in other forms.

2. Help your children brush their teeth (with a fluoride toothpaste) twice a day.

Young children cannot get their teeth clean by themselves. Until they are 7 or 8 years old, you will need to make sure they do a thorough job. Use no more than a pea-size amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, and encourage your child to spit out toothpaste rather than swallow it.

3. Serve healthy meals and snacks.

  • Limit between-meal snacks.
  • Save candy, cookies, soda, and other sugary drinks for special occasions.
  • Limit fruit juice. Follow the Daily Juice Recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (visit

4. Take your children to the dentist

for regular cleanings and check-ups.

5. Ask your dentist about dental sealants.

Sealants are put on in dentists' offices, clinics, and sometimes in schools.

Summer 2012 Issue: Volume 7 Number 2 Page 24