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Promote Healthy Teeth and Gums in Older Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What do I need to know about healthy teeth and gums in older children?

You can help your child develop good habits early that will continue as an adult. At about age 6, your child will start to lose his or her baby teeth. They will be replaced by permanent adult teeth. Your child will need good nutrition and mouth care to have healthy teeth and gums.

How can I teach my child to care for his or her teeth and gums?

How should my child brush and floss his or her teeth?

At 7 or 8 years, your child should start caring for his or her own teeth. You may need to help your child brush and floss until he or she can do it properly. Ages 8 to 12 are a good time for your child to practice a healthy tooth care routine. He or she will continue the routine as an adult.

Teach Children to Brush and Floss

What do I need to know about fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent cavities. Fluoride is found in some foods and in drinking water in certain areas. It is also available in toothpastes, alcohol-free mouth rinses, and fluoride applications at the dentist's office. Ask your healthcare provider how much fluoride your child needs. Your dentist may be able to tell you if your drinking water contains enough fluoride. If it does not contain enough fluoride, your child may need a supplement. Starting at the age of 6 years, children can also get fluoride from alcohol-free mouth rinses.

What else can my child and I do to help keep his or her teeth and gums healthy?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.