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Protect your baby's smile

Cavities are nearly 100% preventable. Your child should visit the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth comes in.

Take your child to the dentist by age 1 

Healthy mouths are important - even for babies and young children. Baby teeth help children chew food, speak properly, and they hold space for permanent teeth. Untreated cavities in baby teeth can mean losing them too soon, and the decay can affect permanent teeth coming in.

Visiting the dentist by age 1 helps you: 

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    Get to know the dentist and who to call if your child has an emergency.

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    Learn how to prevent cavities that can cause your child pain and serious health problems. 

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    Save money by learning healthy habits and catching problems early. 

Find a participating dentist near you 

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Note: this is not a directory of dentists providing care for Medicaid patients. To find a Medicaid participating dentist, visit insurekidsnow.gov

Baby's first visit to the dentist 

At the first checkup, the dentist will: 

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    Check your child for cavities 

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    Show you how to brush your baby's teeth 

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    Teach you about food, drinks and habits that can cause cavities 

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    Discuss fluoride options 

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    Check your child's bite, growth and development 

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    Give you information to prevent accidents as your baby grows 

How to care for your baby's smile 

Clean gums

Clean your baby's gums with a damp washcloth after eating and drinking

Brush teeth

Use a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice to brush your baby's teeth and gums in gentle circles two times a day

No bottle in bed

Don't let your baby sleep with a bottle at nap time or at night.

Give milk or water

Give your child white milk or water. Don't give your child drinks with added sugar, like soda, juice, or flavored milk.

For care providers 

Be a dentist by 1 champion! 

Encouraging early childhood dental visits promotes a lifetime of good oral health behaviors and helps identify children at risk for caries.

Use the materials below to help parents get their kids an early start on good oral and overall health.

Brochure

Share tips on caring for a baby's smile, and why it's important, with this trifold brochure. File size is small, making it attachment-friendly.

Poster

Many don't know the benefits of early childhood dental care. Encourage parents and patients at your practice to start early with this poster.

Brochure en Español

Share tips on caring for a baby's smile, and why it's important, with this trifold brochure. File size is small, making it attachment-friendly.

Poster en Español

Many don't know the benefits of early childhood dental care. Encourage parents and patients at your practice to start early with this poster.