How to Raise Cavity-Free Kids, Part 6: Toddler years

Congratulations: Your child has passed that baby stage, and now you have a toddler. Here is some information for you to keep in mind regarding his or her oral health.

Since your toddler now has a mouthful of teeth,it is very important that you brush his teeth regularly with a small, soft toothbrush. Be sure to brush at least twice a day, using a gentle circular motion. Floss in between your child’s teeth once per day as soon as his teeth begin touching one another.

Please refer to the tooth-eruption chart from one of our previous posts, to monitor the eruption of these new teeth.

Since toddlers are usually very curious and learning to be independent, most want to brush their own teeth. You may allow them to, but we strongly recommend that you finish off the brushing yourself. They have not yet developed the motor skills required to brush efficiently, and they tend to miss out a lot of hidden plaque when they brush by themselves. Also, your toddler should be using non-fluoridated toothpaste, since accidental swallowing of the fluoridated toothpaste may upset his stomach.

 If the dentist has diagnosed cavities in your child’s mouth, it’s very important to have them filled as soon as possible. Remember: an infected baby tooth can permanently damage an adult tooth growing underneath.

Primary teeth are very small, and cavity bacteria pass through the enamel and reach the nerve surprisingly faster than most of us think. This is another good reason for your child to get his teeth examined every six months, to rule out early decay. As your curious toddler explores the world around him, this is the best time to introduce him to good oral-hygiene habits.

Habits children learn at this stage are habits they are likely to keep for a long time—maybe even a lifetime.  

 

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