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Healthy teeth as children lead to healthy teeth as adults

Underneath your child's baby teeth, the roots and position of the adult teeth are growing into place-and how those baby teeth are cared for, right now, will go a long way toward determining how well and for how long your child will maintain the adult teeth.

Research shows that children who develop cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities as an adult, so the first thing to do is get your child to a dentist for a check up. The dentist can determine if your child is at risk for cavities and which oral hygiene program is most appropriate. For example, brushing should begin when the first tooth erupts.

If your child is at high risk for cavities, it's time to cut down on the starchy snacks, such as crackers and chips, and limit sugary beverages. Remember that giving your child a bottle of sweetened liquid many times a day or allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle during naps or at night can be harmful to the child's teeth.

But no matter what kinds of foods and drinks are consumed, parents should make sure the child's teeth are brushed, flossed and rinsed regularly.

To learn more about the importance of good oral health for young children, visit the American Dental Association Web site at "www.ada.org/public/manage/stages/index.asp".

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

04/04/2005

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