Are you brushing your child's teeth the right way?

    Claudia Coco (WGXA)

    MACON, Ga. -- A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said nearly 80 percent of parents aren't brushing their child's teeth early enough, but experts said parents should be brushing their child's teeth morning and night.

    Experts add babies should be getting their teeth brushed when that first tooth comes out. A child's first dental visit should also be at 1-years-old.

    "The reason is for prevention, because we want children to not have any cavities and cavities are preventable. And that first visit gives you the opportunity to ask all these questions. 'How much toothpaste do I use,' and 'When do I brush their teeth?'," Dr. Megan Flournoy said.

    Flournoy said that also helps develop your relationship with your dentist, so if your child chips their tooth or bumps their mouth on something and it's not an emergency room visit, you can simply just go see your dentist.

    The CDC also said that nearly 40 percent of children ages three to 6-years-old are just using too much toothpaste. Flournoy said children around 2-years-old just need to use a smear of toothpaste on the brush, while kids three to 6-years-old need an amount the size of a pea.

    A big part of preventing cavities is taking away juice and milk during the day and at night, Flournoy said.

    "One thing that we see commonly especially when a child is younger is that they will put their baby to sleep with a bottle or have them carry around a sippy cup all day long, and that really increases their risk for cavities. So we encourage them not to go to bed with a bottle or anything except for water, and just to drink water in between meal times and have a special drink at meals," she added.

    When it comes to cavities in young children, Flournoy said parents can look out for white, chalky areas on kids' teeth. Those, she said, are the first signs of cavities. As kids get bigger, Flournoy said it can actually get quite painful.

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