How Do I Keep My Toddler’s Teeth Healthy?
Your toddler brings a lot of love and joy into your home. But it’s important that you protect your child’s oral health so they’ll grow up with a healthy smile. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your toddler’s teeth and gums healthy.
At What Age is My Child Considered a Toddler?
Most organizations define toddlers as being between 1 and 4 years of age. But there is no set age limit for this stage of development. In general, your child is a toddler once they start learning how to walk and before preschool.
Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
Your child should see a pediatric dentist once they get their first baby tooth and no later than their first birthday. That way, you’ll be able to help your child adopt good oral hygiene habits as early in life as possible. We’ll also make sure that your toddler’s teeth and gums are healthy and developing normally.
We understand that your child may feel some anxiety about being in a strange new environment. This is why we do everything we can to help your child feel at ease in the dentist’s chair. Our pediatric dentists have received special training so they can treat young patients.
Talk with your child about their upcoming dental visit so they know what to expect and have a good experience.
Wean Your Toddler Off Their Pacifier
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting or stopping pacifier use around 6 months of age.
Long-term use of a pacifier can cause your child’s teeth and jaws to grow around the pacifier as they develop. Pacifier overuse causes the front teeth to tilt forward, which creates bite problems. Thumb-sucking has much of the same effect on your toddler’s teeth.
Watch for Baby Teeth
Your baby won’t need toothpaste until they get their first tooth, usually between 6 and 8 months of age. But it’s important to remember that each child is different. Some children get their first tooth as early as 3 months of age. Other children may not get their first tooth until 14 to 15 months of age.
Assist With Teeth Brushing
Help your child brush their teeth twice a day until they have the hand coordination to do it themselves. You’ll also need to make sure your child spits out excess toothpaste once they’re done brushing.
Use only a smear of fluoride toothpaste on their brush (about the size of a grain of rice). When your child reaches 3 years of age, you may then use a pea-sized glob of toothpaste. Fluoridated toothpaste will help strengthen your child’s enamel, reducing their risk of cavities.
Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, a small head to get around baby teeth, and a large handle.
Assist With Flossing
Start flossing as soon as your child has teeth that touch. Yet, many young children lack the dexterity to floss their own teeth. As the parent, it’ll be your responsibility to floss between teeth and remove plaque. Flossing at a young age will also help your child understand the importance of preventive dental care.