Children's Hospital Colorado

Dental Health

A young boy wearing a blue shirt smiles and brushes his teeth with a purple and pink toothbrush while a doctor with long blonde hair watches in the background.

Tooth decay (also known as cavities or dental caries) is the most common chronic disease for school-age children. Learn more about keeping your kids' teeth healthy with the following FAQs and tips from experts at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Download a printable toothbrushing chart (.pdf).

Dental health tips for kids

  • Use toothpaste with fluoride

    • Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens teeth against cavities.
    • Use a small dollop the size of a grain of rice for children ages 1 to 3.
    • Increase to a pea-size amount for children ages 4 and up.
    • Drink tap water or bottled water containing fluoride.
  • Teach kids how to brush

    • Brush for 1 to 2 minutes twice a day.
    • Brush teeth, gums and tongue.
  • Establish a routine

    • Brush after breakfast and before bedtime.
    • Never skip the bedtime brushing.
    • Schedule regular dental care every 3 to 6 months.
    • Wean baby off the bottle by age 1.
    • Don’t put baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup.
    • Drink milk at mealtime and water in between.
    • Drink more water, and less juice and soda.
    • Eat more fruits, vegetables and cheese when snacking.
  • Help kids participate

    • Let kids participate in brushing their own teeth.
    • Fine motor coordination happens around 7 to 8 years old, so children will need some help until then.

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