Expert tips for keeping kids' smiles healthy and even through the spring candy rush

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MS -- In terms of candy consumption volume, the Easter holiday is second only to Halloween. While baskets full of chocolates and candies can seem like a child's dream come true, parents may cringe at the prospect of their little ones' mouths filled with so much sugar.

The American Dental Association recognizes that early childhood cavities are a significant public health problem. In fact, tooth decay is still recognized as the most common chronic disease affecting children in the United States.

Fortunately, parents can help their children avoid dental issues like cavities by establishing healthy routines early.

Dr. Jennifer Salzer, a dentist, orthodontist and mom, offers the following tips to help parents keep children's smiles healthy all year.

See the Expert

* Speak to your pediatrician about when to schedule baby's first dental visit.

* A good rule of thumb is to schedule a visit by their first birthday with regular visits every six months.

Lead by Example

* Set a good example and let your kids learn by watching and imitating you as you brush, rinse and floss.

* If you need to brush up on your own oral care knowledge, check out the Oral-B Stages "Parent's Guide" available online at oralb.com/stages.

Mirror Mirror

* Encourage your kids to brush in front of a mirror; it will help them see spots they may otherwise miss.

* To help keep track of their oral care routine enlist the help of a brushing chart to record each time your child brushes.

Offer Choices

* Have plenty of oral care supplies on hand for your kids in the flavors and designs they'll be excited to use to encourage proper oral hygiene.

* The Oral-B Stages line is designed for kids four months to seven years of age.

It features Disney(R) characters and fun flavors to provide an appealing option for young children.

* For older kids, 8 years and up, who feel too grown up for "baby products", there is the Crest and Oral-B Pro-Health FOR ME line which comes in tween-friendly flavors and designs.

Brace Face

* Show kids with braces how to brush using a two-step approach -- from the top down, and then the bottom up -- to help dislodge any food that may be stuck in the brackets.

* Provide your tween with great products like the Oral-B Pro-Health FOR ME CrossAction Toothbrush which helps clean hard-to-reach areas and the Crest Pro-Health FOR ME Anti-Cavity Rinse which reaches where brushing may miss.

Oral health is an important issue, particularly for kids. Luckily, with good habits and the right tools, dental health issues like cavities are largely preventable -- even if sweets are plentiful.

More information about Oral-B Stages and Crest and Oral-B Pro-Health FOR ME products is available at oralb.com/stages and crestprohealth.com.

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