Tips for Your Toddler's Teeth

One of the most important health lessons you can pass on to your children is proper oral care. This includes helping him or her brush twice a day, showing how to floss correctly, limiting snacks and scheduling regular dental appointments.

How do I care for my toddler's teeth?

You should start bringing your child to the dentist by age two. It not only makes sure your child's teeth are healthy, but also teaches you the proper way to care for those teeth. Always make the dentist seem like a positive experience, and let your child know that the appointment is important in making sure he or she is healthy. Teaching them this at an early age will encourage maintaining dental health later in life.

What should I do when my toddler's teeth begin to come in?

You should expect the teeth to erupt at around six months, and all baby teeth to have come in by age three. The teeth coming in causes a child's gums to become tender and bring discomfort. Rub the gums with your finger, a cool spoon or a teething ring that has been placed in the freezer. You can also find pain relief medications for teething babies - ask your dentist or pediatrician for more information. If you find that your child has a fever while teething, contact your physician to make sure no other conditions are involved.

What is the proper way to brush a toddler's teeth?

You should be monitoring and supervising your child's teeth brushing at least until the age of six. Follow these guidelines:

  • Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste; make sure the child does not swallow it.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush, and brush the inside surfaces of the teeth first. With the bristles angled toward the gumline, gently brush back and forth.
  • Clean all outside surfaces of the teeth, using the same method as above.
  • Place the brush so the bristles are on the chewing surface of the teeth, and use the same method.

Is thumb sucking a problem?

This reflex is healthy and normal in babies, but can cause problems with the growth of the mouth and jaw if it continues after permanent teeth have come in, between the ages of four and seven years. Habitual thumb sucking at an older age may cause buck teeth, an open bite, premature tooth wear and even increased dental decay.

The best way to deal with this habit is positive reinforcement, rather than punishing a child for the behavior. Praise the child when he or she is not sucking his or her thumb, and if possible, focus on correcting whatever anxiety is causing the behavior. If the problem persists, contact your pediatrician or dentist for further assistance.

Make sure your child is on the path for optimal dental health - schedule an appointment with us today!



Courtesy of Colgate

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