CDC Provides Spanish Language Tips for Caring for
Young Children’s Teeth
To assist Hispanic parents in caring for their
children’s teeth, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has
released pediatric oral health tips in Spanish,
Refresque Sus Conocimientos sobre Dientes
Sanos: Pasos Sencillos para Sonrisas Infantiles (Refresh your Knowledge of
Healthy Teeth: Simple Steps for Kids’ Smiles). The tips, which recommend
good oral care habits starting in infancy and provide information on the
proper use of toothpaste and other fluoride products, are being released in
observation of National Children’s Dental Health Month (February).
Hispanic children, 2-5 years of age, have more tooth decay in their
primary (“baby”) teeth than either white or African American pre-school
children. The Third National Health and Examination Survey showed that more
than twice as many Mexican American children (35 percent) as white children
(14 percent) in this age group have untreated tooth decay. About 40 percent
of Hispanic children lack dental insurance.
"It is very important that parents pay attention to their children's
oral health and begin
taking care of their children’s teeth early, during infancy,” said William
R. Maas, a dentist and director of CDC’s Division of Oral Health.
“Developing these good oral health habits, as well as the proper use of
fluoride, reduces the risk of tooth decay and improves overall heath.”
Dental health practices such as brushing with a small amount of fluoride
toothpaste – the size of a small grain of corn, or pea – and drinking
fluoridated water can greatly improve oral health in children. Fluoride
works by stopping or even reversing tooth decay. Research has shown that
brushing with fluoride toothpaste lowers the risk of tooth decay by 15
percent to 30 percent, and drinking fluoridated water lowers the risk of
decay by 18 percent to 40 percent.
The CDC recommends the following Simple Steps for Kids’ Smiles:
Start cleaning teeth early. As soon as the first tooth
appears, begin cleaning by wiping with a clean, damp cloth every day.
When more teeth come in, switch to a small, soft toothbrush. Begin using
fluoride toothpaste when the child is 2 years old. Use toothpaste with
fluoride earlier if your child’s doctor or dentist recommends it.
Use the right amount of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is
important in fighting cavities. But if children younger than 6 years
swallow too much fluoride, their teeth may develop white spots. To
prevent this, use only a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a
small grain of corn). Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste and to
rinse well after brushing.
Supervise brushing. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day until
your child is able to use a toothbrush without help. Then, continue to
closely watch brushing to make sure your child is doing a thorough job
and using only a small amount of toothpaste.
Talk to your child’s doctor or dentist. Check with the doctor
or dentist about your child’s specific fluoride needs. After age 2, most
children get the necessary amount of fluoride to help prevent cavities if
they drink water that contains fluoride and brush their teeth twice a day
with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a small
grain of corn. Parents of children over the age of 6 months should ask
about the need for a fluoride supplement if their drinking water does not
have enough fluoride. Also, do not let a child younger than 6-years-old
use a mouth rinse with fluoride unless the child’s doctor or dentist
To receive copies of “Refresque Sus Conocimientos sobre Dientes Sanos:
Pasos Sencillos para Sonrisas Infantiles” send a request to