MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTHFEED YOUR CHILDHEALTHY FOOD.Develop healthful eating habits fromthe start. Choose foods that do nothave a lot of sugar in them. Giveyour child fruits and vegetablesinstead of candy and cookies.Iron-fortified cereal and pureedmeats are excellent sources of iron.WICWomen, Infants & Children ProgramHealthy First TeethPROTECT YOUR BABY’S TEETHWITH FLUORIDE.Fluoride protects teeth from toothdecay and helps heal early decay.Fluoride is in the tap water ofmany towns and cities. Ask yourdoctor, dentist, or clinic if yourwater has fluoride in it. If it doesn’t,ask about fluoride products that arebest for you and your child.TAKE YOUR CHILD TOTHE DENTIST.Take your child to the dentist by 1year of age. At this first visit, yourdentist can check your child’s teethand discuss ways to prevent toothdecay. You should visit the dentistonce a year. Have the dentistexplain the importance of brushing.Remind your child that the dentistsaid, “We have to brush your teethso they will stay healthy.”For more information,stop by your local health department, orcall the Mississippi Health DepartmentWIC office at 1-800-545-6747.MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTHWWW.HealthyMS.com1-866-HLTHY4U1-866-458-4948In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, thisinstitution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, nationalorigin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of CivilRights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW,Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD), USDA is anequal opportunity provider and employer.©MDH All Rights Reserved 6/1/2005 5091
HEALTHY FIRST TEETHHealthy first teeth start with you!Tooth decay is caused by germs(bacteria) that can spread from yourmouth to your baby’s mouth.Germs are spread when you sharethings that have been in yourmouth, like food, cups, straws,pacifiers, or even by kissing.You can help your child havehealthy teeth by setting an exampleand brushing your teeth twice a daywith fluoride toothpaste and byflossing daily.CHECK YOUR BABY’S TEETH.Healthy teeth should all be one color.If you see spots or stains, take yourbaby to the dentist.CLEAN YOUR BABY’S TEETH.Clean your baby’s teeth as soon asthey come in. Use a clean, soft clothor a baby’s toothbrush. Clean theteeth at least once a day. It’s best toclean them right before bedtime.At about age 2, most of your child’steeth will be in. You can beginbrushing his teeth with a small dropof toothpaste - less than the size ofa pea. Do not use toothpaste if yourchild swallows it.Replace your child’stoothbrush when itbecomes frayed, or everythree months, whicheveris sooner.LET YOUR TODDLER CHOOSEHIS OWN TOOTHBRUSH.Let your toddler choose two or threecolorful child-size tooth brushes.Be sure the bristles are soft. Eachmorning and evening, let him selectthe one he wants to use, so he willfeel more in control. Rinse thetoothbrush after every use, and keepit in a holder. Replace the brushafter your child has been sick sothat germs in the bristles won’tcause reinfection.LET THEM BRUSHTHEIR OWN TEETH.When your child starts showing aninterest in brushing, let him try andbrush himself. Don’t worry abouthow well he brushes - just let himget the job done. Praise his efforts.After you’ve praised him, get anothertoothbrush and approach him frombehind, letting him hold the brushalong with you, and give him acomplete brushing.While helping him, you can saysomething like, “These two teeth lookclean, let’s go on to the next ones!”PREVENT BABY BOTTLETOOTH DECAY.• Breast milk is less likely to causetooth decay.• Do not put your baby to bed witha bottle at night or at naptime.However, if you do put your babyto bed with a bottle, fill it onlywith water.• Milk, formula, juices, and otherdrinks like soda or sweet tea allhave sugar in them. Sucking on abottle or sippy cup filled withthese liquids can cause toothdecay. Decayed teeth can causepain and cost a lot to repair. Notrepairing cavities leaves a child atrisk of serious infection and toothloss. Early tooth loss can causeproblems with permanent teeth.• During the day, do not give yourbaby a bottle or cup filled withsweet drinks to use as a pacifier.• If your baby uses a pacifier, donot dip it in anything sweet likesugar or honey.• At around 6 to 8 months, offerjuice in a cup, not a bottle, only atmeal and snack times.• Wean your baby from a bottle toa cup by 1 year of age.