Dental Care for Toddlers: Give Your Child a Lifetime of Smiles

When your toddlers teeth start erupting into their mouth it is really time to step up their home care if you haven’t already. First, give toddler plenty of good-for-you foods and beverages to keep his or her teeth healthy and strong. It is very important to avoid sugary snacks for your toddler.  It is not good for their overall health or their dental health.  It is important to extablish a good habit of limiting sugary snacks to immediatley following a meal.  Toddlers should no longer be using a bottle or a pacifier. Continued use can have detrimental effect on their developing jaw.  Sippy cups should be used on a limited basis and only contain water if the toddler is allowed to drink from it between meals.

Tooth brushing

Baby teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they break through the gums. Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler suggests you start good tooth brushing habits early with your toddler.  You should brush twice a day, always before bed and then whatever other time works best for your schedule.  Be prepared to help your toddler.  He or she won’t have the motor skillsto brush on their own until around eight years old. Let your toddler brush and maybe even try tooth brushing gamesto make cleaning teeth a more fun.  Sing songs or tell a story for the two minutes and it won’t seem like such a long time.

You should not use regular adult or child tooth paste with your toddler.  Use water only or fluoride-free toothpaste until your child won’t swallow it (probably not before two). When he or she is older and won’t swallow the tooth paste your toddler can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.

Brushing technique is important too!You want to teach good brushing techniques to help establish good habits for your toddler.  Have your toddler stand on a step stool in front the mirror and brush his or her teeth with your hand over theirs hand. That helps them to learn the proper motion and to get all areas of their mouth.  Use a circular motion and hold the brush at a 45-degree angle when brushing the sides of the teeth. On areas that don’t have teeth you should still lightly brush the gums.  It is also important to brush the tongue.

Regular dental visits are important in the toddler years to prevent any problems from happening.  Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler recommends that your toddler visit her office twice a year for a professional dental cleaning, exam, and any needed radiographs.

 

 

  

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Holly A. Scott-Hetchler DDS, PC 919 Chester RdLansing, MI 48912