Pediatric Services

NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

Pediatric Dentistry

Tips to Help Kids Keep a Healthy Smile


Here are a few tips from NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital for keeping your child's smile bright and healthy.

  • Clean your newborn or infant's tongue, gums and teeth with a small damp cloth after feeding (at least four times a day and before bed).
  • Never put a baby to sleep with a bottle. Water is the only drink that doesn't cause tooth decay.
  • Your child should be drinking from a "sippy cup" by age one.
  • "You are what you eat." Remember that! A balanced diet is essential for healthy growth and development. Fruits, vegetables, protein, fats, lots of foods with calcium and lots of water will promote healthy living. It's healthy to have a few snacks a day but snacking should be limited- especially limit sugary snacks (including dried fruit and granola bars). Too much snacking on starchy foods like potato chips, pretzels and crackers can also cause tooth decay. Teach your child to swish out the mouth with water after eating or drinking anything sweet or starchy.
  • A child's first dental visit should happen no later than age one, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, with routine dental check-ups every six months.
  • Children must have their teeth brushed every morning and every night for two minutes at least. Most children need help and supervision until age six or eight. Children without space between the teeth need to floss every night. Six and twelve-year-olds need dental sealants to protect their permanent molars. Young athletes need mouth guards to protect the teeth.
  • Remember your child's physical examination is not complete without a dental examination.