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Good dental care begins at a young age
Updated: 4/16/2008 10:00:48 AM

Parents should begin cleaning their child's teeth as soon as the first one appears, experts suggest.

The 'parenting tip of the week' in the Savannah Morning News recommends using a soft damp cloth to wipe down a baby's gums, which can also be used to clean its first few teeth.

There are a number of steps parents can take to ensure their children's teeth are kept healthy, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics.

It states that ensuring that children get enough fluoride, which is present in toothpaste and is often added to drinking water, is important as it strengthens tooth enamel and can help repair early damage to teeth.

The organisation recommends regular brushing and flossing, beginning with a cloth or piece of gauze and moving onto a toothbrush as a child gets older.

It also suggests that parents try to make tooth-brushing a "fun" experience, by modeling good teeth-brushing behaviors themselves and giving the child positive encouragement.

Canadian dental hygienist Julie Lahti told Northern Life: "Parents play a big role in the healthy development of their children's teeth and overall oral health."

Dental cavities or decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in Canada, according to the publication.
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