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Start Brushing with Fluoride Toothpaste with First Tooth

February 17, 2014
Plain English Version

The time to start brushing your children’s teeth is when they first get them. The old idea wasbrushing 2 to wait until children were 24 months old.

Using fluoride toothpaste is essential. Fluoride stops tooth decay that leads to cavities. Dentists say that if brushing does not begin as soon as teeth appear, it may lead to lifelong dental health problems.

When the first tooth (commonly called a “baby tooth”) appears, brush  a rice-sized spot of toothpaste on it twice a day. Have the child spit the toothpaste out after a few seconds. If the child is not spitting, wipe it  off  with a wet cloth.

The American Dental Association is recommending that only the tiniest amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used. They say, “By starting early we can reduce a lifetime of disease for a lot of kids.”

The Affordable Care Act is a problem

Experts found a flaw in the dental coverage of the Affordable Care Act. Dental insurance for children is not automatically covered. Parents will have to buy it separately. There is no subsidy available.

This is not true for every plan. For example, some insurance plans in New York and Massachusetts offer pediatric dental coverage.

Parents should check out dental coverage with their health coverage insurer.

Source: The New York Times                February 12, 2014

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