Dental health for kids: Tips to keep their teeth healthy and clean

MILWAUKEE -- February is National Children's Dental Health Month. It's also a reminder that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children.

Dr. Richard Klich is chief dental officer with United Healthcare. He has some tips for caring for your baby's teeth.

Tips for caring for baby`s teeth and gums:

• Never put baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or fruit juice, as these drinks can form a sugary film on the baby`s teeth and lead to decay and infection.

• Starting at birth, clean the baby`s gums with water and a soft cloth or child-sized tooth brush. Once a child reaches age 2, parents can start brushing a baby`s teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush and a smear-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste, making sure to teach the toddler to spit out the toothpaste.

• Schedule the baby`s first dental visit when his/her first tooth comes in, usually between the child`s first six to 12 months.

Tips for caring for children`s teeth and gums:

• Help your child brush twice a day with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste; for children 3-6 this means a pea-sized dab. When your child is pre-school age, assist with brushing to make sure teeth get clean and that your child does not swallow toothpaste, which may expose them to too much fluoride.