Toddler dental care is an essential part of inculcating healthy habits in your child. Baby teeth start appearing between 3 to 12 months and all 20 teeth are there by the time the child turns three. With the arrival of central bottom teeth, dental care becomes extremely important. You have to ensure proper eating, brushing, and flossing and avoid any kind of mouth infection. Adequate tooth care is also essential to speech development, healthy jaws, and clear breathing.
Toddler Dental Care: Do I Need a Toothbrush?
You may not need a toothbrush until your baby has central upper and bottom teeth. Use a soft piece of cotton with water to clean the gums of the baby. Wrap the cloth around your figure and dip it in warm water and rub on the gums. Don’t forget to wash your hands before cleaning the mouth of your baby as germs in your hand may defeat the purpose of toddler dental care and result in infections.
Toddler Dental Care: When To Use A Brush
Start using a toothbrush as soon as the central upper and bottom teeth appear. A toddler needs to clean teeth twice a day. Get a soft toothbrush specially made for children with a small head and inspire your child to clean his teeth in the morning and just before going to bed at night. No toothpaste should be used until he turns 18 months old. Instead, use only water.
It is the beginning of a long journey before your child starts brushing his teeth independently. Your guidance is an important part of the child dental care at least for the next six years.
Don’t forget to replace the toothbrush every month.
Toddler Dental Care: When To Use Toothpaste
Unless advised by a dentist, don’t use toothpaste until your child is 18 months old. Until then dip the brush in warm water and move it gently on his teeth. When you start using toothpaste, do not take more than a peanut-size amount.
Toddler Dental Care: The Best Toothpaste
You may find many special baby toothpaste brands with less fluoride in the market. See the label to check the amount of fluoride in toothpaste. A child under three years of age should not use a toothpaste with fluoride ingredients more than 1,000 parts per million (ppm). Fluoride amount in toothpaste meant for adults ranges from 1,350ppm to 1,500ppm.
Toddler Dental Care: How To Brush Using Toothpaste
Put a layer of toothpaste covering less than three-fourth of your child’s brush. Help your baby move the brush on his teeth and spit after a few seconds. Repeat the process for a few minutes. This is just the beginning, but an essential step in the toddler dental care. With age, your child will develop stronger brushing skills under your guidance and gradually become independent to do it on his own.
Toddler Dental Care: Dangers of Swallowing Toothpaste
Your child may suffer from tooth damage or become sick if he continues to swallow a large amount of fluoride toothpaste. Don’t allow your child to eat toothpaste. Encourage him to spit after every few seconds. The best way to discourage your child from eating toothpaste is to select one without any taste or flavor.
Also keep the toothpaste away from the reach of the toddler. When he swallows a large amount, immediately consult a dentist.
Toddler Dental Care: Foods and Drinks To Avoid
Intake of sugary foods or drinks may negate the objective of toddler dental care. Children love sugar, but are unaware of its effects on their teeth. Sugar forms an acid when it comes in contact with bacteria in the child’s mouth, and this can lead to potential cavities and tooth decay.
It is difficult to ban sugary food and drinks in the toddler diet. But you can limit these to the minimum or only at the mealtime. If your toddler wants juice, dilute it with water before serving. Encourage him to use a sipper or straw to avoid contact of sugar with teeth.
Don’t let your child eat any high-sugar food. Homemade food and drinks are a better option than processed, packaged, or outside junk.
Toddler Dental Care: How To Clean Child’s Teeth
Take the baby in your lap and let him open the mouth. Make very gentle, circular movements with the brush. Remember, your child has only a few teeth and the brush must not go beyond the teeth and cause damage to tender gums.
Stop brushing after 20 to 30 seconds and encourage your child to spit. Repeat the process a few times and train him to rinse the mouth with water at the end to remove the toothpaste residue.
Brushing is the most vital part of the toddler dental care. You may give the baby your own brush to play while brushing his teeth. Allow him to watch you while you are brushing.
Toddler Dental Care: Tips To Keep Teeth Clean
- Make brushing twice a day – in the morning and before sleep – part of your child’s daily routine.
- Never allow your child to sleep or eat without brushing or mouthwash.
- Supervise your child and guide him during brushing.
- Change the brush every month.
- Encourage him to learn the way you are brushing and make small, circular movements with the brush.
- Check teeth and gums regularly.
- Ensure no trace of food is left in the mouth of your baby.
Toddler Dental Care: When To Visit A Dentist
You may consider visiting a dentist when you observe blood in his gums, improper teeth alignment, or any other teeth problem. Parents should ensure that there is no tooth decay in a toddler. This may lead to gum damage and infections.
Toddler Dental Care: Tips To Help Your Child Have Strong Teeth
- Toddler dental care is among the earliest healthy habits taught to a child. Make sure you build it on a strong foundation. Never force a brush into the mouth of a reluctant child, as it may damage his tender gums. Persuade and teach him about how to clean his teeth. Show him how you do and inspire him to pursue.
- Admire and encourage every time he brushes his teeth or shows his clean teeth.
- Make brushing a fun activity and increase his share of participation.
- Ensure your toddler follows good eating habits and gets all essential elements, such as calcium and vitamin D, to support the development of stronger teeth and firmer gums.
- Monitor what he eats and drinks to ensure his eating habit is not contributing to tooth decay.
- Avoid sugary food and drinks in his diet plan.
- Encourage the intake of milk and other dairy products.
- Almonds and leafy green vegetables in the diet also contribute to stronger teeth.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com