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COLUMBUS , Miss. (WCBI) – If you are under 5 years old, brushing your teeth ranks down there with, washing your hands or going to bed on the list of things you don’t like to do.

Primary or baby teeth play a vital role in a child’s physical and even emotional development.

We look at ways to convince your little guy to take care of his choppers.

Brushing doesn’t have to be a chore.

Dr. David Curtis is a pediatric dentist in Columbus.

He says, ” Anything you can do to motivate youngsters to brush is a good thing.”

Having Spider Man on your toothbrush can make the whole process go a little more smoothly.

Credible studies suggest that electricity also helps.

Dr. Curtis says, ” The findings were actually remarkable, that children really do a better job with a  spinning type of brush.”

That’s because most children, under 10,  lack the manual dexterity to get the job done with a traditional hand held.

Still, Dr. Curtis cautions, ” Even with an electric toothbrush, you still need a parent in there helping, still do some spot mopping really making sure they are getting in there and getting it done.”

Flouride is also something to consider.

Dr. Curtis explains, ” You should never put a whole ribbon of toothpaste on a toothbrush for a 2 or 3 year old. That’s too much flouride.”

That can lead to discoloration of their permanent teeth.

Another way to insure a pearly future, keep a close eye on those brightly colored drinks.

Dr. Curtis cautions,” I’d rather have a child sit down and drink a glass of juice with breakfast than to cruise all day long with a sippy cup of juice. It’s the number of exposures to sugar per day that causes tooth decay. If you are getting 2 exposures per day it’s not a problem. If you are getting 30 exposures a day, you are going to get cavities.”

Lest, you think, we’ll he’s just going to lose them anyway, remember.

Your first teeth are vital in your digestion of food today and your appearance tomorrow.

Dr. Curtis concludes, ” If you look at X-rays of a child’s growing face, you see the primary tooth and you see the permanent tooth cradled underneath it, and that primary tooth serves as the matrix for the growth and development of those permanent teeth very important.”

That’s something to chew on.
For children 3 and under, Dr. Curtis recommends no more than a pea sized amount of toothpaste.

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