As a parent, you probably understand that pediatric dentistry is an important aspect of your child's overall health. However, you first need to deal with the teething process as the baby teeth emerge from the gums. It varies among babies, but teething typically begins around six months of age. Common symptoms include sore and irritated…
Pediatric Dentistry: Tips on Oral Health Care Routines for Toddlers
Quality dental care is important for people of all ages, including toddlers. Pediatric dentistry plays an essential role in helping parents and their children build healthy habits that protect their teeth and gums. Smart choices early in life can reduce the risks of disease while promoting proper dental development.
Building a good oral health routine for toddlers
A healthy mouth starts at home, but professional cleanings and checkups should also be part of a child's oral health routine. Incorporating both provides an effective way to keep toddler teeth healthy and strong.
Make brushing frequent and fun
Brushing teeth twice a day should start as soon as the first baby teeth erupt and should continue into toddlerhood and beyond. However, tiny hands do not have the fine motor skills needed to effectively brush each tooth. Parents should help and guide their children, showing them the proper way to hold a toothbrush and clean their teeth and gums.
When it comes to toothpaste, only the amount of a grain of rice is necessary for this age. Stick to fluoride-free products until your child is able to brush without swallowing. Talk with your dentist to determine when your child is ready for fluoride toothpaste.
Toddlers thrive on positive reinforcement so be sure to praise your young child often for brushing their teeth on their own and with your help. A sticker chart or fun app are great ways to help them get excited about good oral health.
Introduce flossing when appropriate
Flossing helps remove plaque between teeth before it can turn into tartar buildup and lead to cavities. Many dentists recommend using children's dental flossers with toddlers because they are much easier to handle and maneuver. Many children love that they come in bright colors and tasty flavors. Give your toddler a chance to hold and manipulate the flosser but guide it yourself when it is time to actually clean between teeth. Always supervise a toddler when they are using a dental flosser.
Develop healthy food and beverage choices
Tiny teeth can be more prone to decay for numerous reasons:
- Thinner tooth enamel
- Higher amounts of bacteria in the mouth from finger- or thumb-sucking
- More prone to injury
- Difficulty cleaning teeth properly
However, a diet high in sugar is another leading cause of cavities in toddlers. Limit sweets and encourage your child to drink more water throughout the day. Offer milk only at meal time and save juice as a treat for special occasions. Brush your child's teeth as soon as possible after they enjoy something sugary.
See a professional for regular pediatric dentistry appointments
Most people should see a dentist twice a year for a checkup. The same is true for toddlers. At these appointments, young children can learn to be more comfortable at the dentist while having plaque and tartar buildup removed. A dentist can also check for proper development and may even recommend a topical fluoride treatment for additional cavity protection.
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Helping your toddler build a good oral health routine is a key focus of pediatric dentistry. Take them to see a dentist on a regular basis and practice good habits at home for a healthy smile.
The main concern of pediatric dentistry is the health of your child’s teeth and gums. A child’s oral health is so important that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents schedule a child’s first dental visit no later than the first birthday. During an appointment, the dentist can provide insight on how to…
In pediatric dentistry, dental professionals understand that parents play a big role in their children's oral health. You are a guide and model along the way, helping your children build healthy habits and routines. However, cavities in children are common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of children between…