Hygiene and Diet

At Smiles in Motion, our pediatric dental specialists are happy to help with diet recommendations, as well as brushing and flossing routines and techniques for your child to help prevent common oral problems and prepare them for a lifetime of dental health. There are different dental hygiene and diet recommendations for various ages from infants through adolescents! When you visit our team for continuing care appointments, we provide an oral health report with age-specific recommendations, and here are some additional general tips:


  • Your child will value their health and teeth in the way that you value yours.
  • Have good oral hygiene and maintain dental care. Avoid sugars and acidic drinks.
  • Your child is likely to eat what you eat and drink and what is available to them in their home.
  • Focus on the positives of each visit and try not share your personal fears or negative feelings about going to the dentist.
  • Be aware, caregivers can transfer their bacteria to infants by sharing utensils or straws.


  • Parents and caregivers should help with brushing and flossing until at least age 8 (AAPD).
  • Plaque and acid cause cavities. Plaque forms from bacteria and food. It must be brushed off the teeth.
  • Brush 2X/day for 2 min with a soft bristled toothbrush, AM and PM (before bed). Floss every night before bed.
  • Replace your toothbrush or electric brush head every 3-4 months or sooner if your child has been sick.
  • We and the AAPD recommend using fluoridated toothpaste beginning at age 3.
  • A smear or rice size amount on the toothbrush for ages 0-3, a pea size amount on the toothbrush for ages 3-6 is recommended.


  • Avoid acids and sugar!
  • Anything sipped on throughout the day (or night), other than water, will cause cavities. Do not allow your child to sip on juice, pop, sports drinks, lemonade, sweet tea, juice, chocolate/strawberry milk, etc.
  • Staying hydrated is critical to overall health. Not all beverages keep us hydrated, some can speed up dehydration (such as pop). Kids age 6 and up should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Sports drinks may keep your body hydrated; however, if they contain sugar, they can also cause cavities.
  • Encourage drinking white milk at meals and water between meals.
  • Sugar in pop combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid, which attacks the teeth. Even diet or sugar-free soda contains acid.
  • There is no nutritional value in drinking more than 4-6 ounces of juice per day. That is one cup! (AAP and AAPD)
  • Healthy snack ideas are whole fruits, vegetables, low sugar full-fat yogurt, white milk, cheese, applesauce, mixed nuts.
  • Avoid sweets, frequent starchy snacks (crackers) and sticky treats (“fruit” snacks, raisins, gummy vitamins!).
  • Sugar-free gum is beneficial for the teeth. We recommend gum that contains Xylitol.

To learn more about home dental routines and diet recommendations, contact us to schedule a continuing care appointment with our pediatric dental specialists in our Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, Rice Lake, Amery or Hudson offices.


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