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The CDC says that 42 percent of children, ages two to 11, have had cavities in their baby teeth, and 21 percent of children, ages six to 11, have had them in their permanent teeth. So, what can parents do to prevent cavities and promote a healthy smile for their little ones?

Working … prepping meals … homework … playtime. Parents are busy! Add in managing your kid’s dental care and the life of a parent gets more hectic. But there are ways to make dental care easier on your kids and you. First start with the right toothbrush.

“The industry has done a great job in developing, like, fun=colored toothbrushes, different types of flossers that are more kid-friendly,” said Jacqueline Moroco, DDS, MS, CEO of Moroco Orthodontics.

Brushing is the most important method of cavity prevention, but it can be tricky to find the right toothbrush for your child with so many different toothbrush options available.

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A good place to start is by looking for a toothbrush without soft, polished bristles.

Also, visit the dentist regularly. According to the CDC, children who start seeing the dentist by age five have dental costs that are 40% lower over a five-year period.

“The relationship with the dentist is really important; parents finding the right fit for their child, you know, not every office is created equally.” Moroco said.

Some other tips for parents to encourage good dental care for their kids: brush your teeth together, set a timer for two minutes so your kids know how long they need to brush, have your child practice brushing teeth on a doll or stuffed animal and create a rewards system. Add a sticker for every day they brush their teeth without complaining. When they reach a certain number of stickers, they could get a toy or a trip to the zoo.

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