Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness of the importance of oral health. Developing good dental habits must start young – even when children are still toddlers. If you have a toddler, we wanted to share some tips to help you give them a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
As babies, it’s important to wipe their gums and first few teeth with a soft cloth or infant brush. Your pediatrician will typically do an inspection of your baby’s mouth within the first 6 months and at age 1 to make sure that teeth are starting to erupt from the gums on schedule.
As they get a little older, toddlers can begin to start participating in their own oral care. You can begin this by teaching them to brush and floss while keeping in mind that most children don’t yet have the dexterity to completely clean their teeth until they reach 6 or 7 years of age.
You will want to teach them to brush in a circular motion with a small toothbrush designed for toddler dental care. Encourage them to do this in the morning and in the evening before bedtime. The focus of brushing should be on the gum line and at the tops of the teeth.
From age 2, a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used for brushing. Flossing with a small floss holder can begin, too!
At around age 3, a visit with a dentist is a good idea. You can expect that a medical/dental history will be taken. Your child will be introduced to the dental equipment and instruments, and there will be an examination of his or her teeth and gums. A professional cleaning will also be performed, and x-rays may be taken.
At Rauch Family Dentistry, we encourage you to schedule regular dental check ups for your entire family. Call us today to schedule an appointment today at 480-207-3439
Some Simple Dental Rules for Toddlers
Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. This can result in significant tooth decay. If they are comforted by a bottle, make sure you’re giving them only water.
Monitor their intake of sweets/sugar. Get into the habit of getting them to rinse with water or brush after eating sugary snacks.
Break the habits of thumb sucking and pacifiers by the age of three.
Involve your toddler in their dental routine. Reward them for doing a good job, and give them the tools they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.