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Module 2: Dental Caries Process

2.4 Protective Factors

father brusing childs teeth

Oral Hygiene

Toothbrushing with fluoridated toothpaste is an effective topical fluoride–delivery mechanism. It also disrupts colonization of Mutans streptococci on tooth surfaces.

Young children do not have the manual dexterity to brush their teeth on their own until they are able to tie their own shoelaces, usually around age 7 or 8. Parents should start brushing the teeth as soon as they begin coming into the mouth by using fluoridated toothpaste in amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist of physician. Supervise children's brushing to minimize swallowing of toothpaste.18

Make sure the child spits out the toothpaste after brushing, but do not have child rinse with water. The small amount of fluoridated toothpaste that remains in the mouth helps build strong healthy teeth.