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Dentists focus attention on family dental habits
Updated: 3/7/2011 7:00:18 PM

Parents can help their children achieve good oral health before their first teeth appear Since young children are the most susceptible to cavities and tooth decay, dental professionals are urging parents to discourage unhealthy behaviors even before babies grow their first tooth.

Dr. Louis Amendola, a California dentist, offered several tips for new parents who can unintentionally instill habits that may be detrimental to their child's oral health.

"Parents and caretakers are the first line of defense against children's cavities and poor oral health," Amendola said.

Cavity-causing bacteria is often transferred from parents to their babies, he further explained.

The dentist recommends that parents avoid tasting their child's food so as not to swap saliva.

It is ideal that children brush their teeth twice per day, but it is imperative that brushing be done before they go to sleep at night, since this is the time when leftover sugars can erode tooth enamel and cause cavities.

To help prevent children from getting into the routine of going to bed with unclean teeth, Amendola suggests that parents do not provide babies with bottles when they are being put to sleep.

The dentist said he believes that children who begin life with good oral hygiene will continue to maintain their dental health throughout life.

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