Healthy teeth are a priority at any age but especially important in the early years.
Dental caries in small children is an increasing problem, in part due to diet. Good dental habits from an early age are a vital ingredient for a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Read below for helpful tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy now and help develop good oral hygiene habits for a lifetime.
Baby Bottle Mouth
Babies and toddlers that constantly suck on a bottle and/or pacifier have an increased chance of tooth decay.
Once your child is weaned from nursing or from formula, try to get them using a cup as soon as possible.
Don’t feed juice in a bottle, even diluted. If your child has a habit of drinking from a bottle to go to sleep, slowly transition them to water in the bottle. Chances are they’ll get over their need for that bedtime bottle quickly when it’s filled with water rather than juice or milk.
Early Dental Checkups
Cleaning your child’s gums with an infant tooth brush and infant toothpaste is a good idea even before teeth erupt.
As soon as your child’s first teeth erupt, they can decay so it’s a good idea to have a dental check-up as early as possible. Their first appointment can be as simple as a ride in the dental chair to get familiar with the office.
Also the dentist or hygienist can look in the child’s mouth quickly and possibly apply a fluoride varnish as well for prevention.
Many toddler snacks wreak havoc on teeth. Be careful about fruit leathers, raisins, granola bars, sugary cereal, and beverages. In less than 24 hours, sugar can attack teeth so it’s vital that you’re careful about sticky and sugary snacks.
Be militant about daily cleaning.
Make Brushing Fun
You’ll find toothbrushes, dental rinses and toothpastes and other dental hygiene products that are geared to kids. These make oral hygiene fun. Don’t hesitate to use timers and charts to help kids get their teeth clean from an early age.
Supervise your child’s oral hygiene habits until at least their fifth birthday (and probably beyond) so that you can ensure that the teeth get adequately cleaned on a daily basis.
A toddler isn’t capable of getting the job done as thoroughly as you can. That said, encouraging them to help is a good idea, too. Many parents find that having their toddler have a turn at first and then letting Mom or Dad finish the job works great for developing healthy teeth habits that allow the job to get done properly.