Children have to be taught how to do just about everything, and caring for their teeth is no different. As a parent, it’s your job to foster good habits and help their teeth grow healthy.
Here are five tips on dental care for toddlers:
1. Set a Good Example
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to set a good example. If you eat a good amount of sugary food and don’t brush your teeth or floss, your child will naturally learn those habits. Even if you insist they eat healthy and brush their teeth often, they are more likely to adopt your bad habits. Set a good example by avoiding sugary foods and beverages. Let your kids see that you brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis. By setting a good example, your child subconsciously learns these good habits without you having to say much.
It may seem unnecessary to take your child to the dentist until they have permanent teeth, but that isn’t the case. Your child should start seeing the dentist by age 1. This is an important time in your child’s life. Not only is it a chance for you and your child to learn about good oral care, tooth development, etc., it also means your child’s primary teeth are cared for, which is important. Children with rotting primary teeth are more likely to have problems with their permanent teeth.
3. Help Relieve Pain From Erupting Teeth
As those first teeth emerge, it can be painful for your child. Help your child by relieving the pain from erupting teeth. Talk to your dentist about pain relief gels and medications for teething. At home, you can rub the gums with your finger or use a frozen teething ring. These are safe, effective ways to help alleviate some of the pain. If you notice your child develops a fever while teething, contact your pediatrician.
4. Brush Your Child’s Teeth Right
At first, obviously, your child can’t brush their own teeth. However, once they can, it’s still important to monitor them until they have it down, usually at 8 years old. Correct them if they miss a spot, go too fast or are brushing incorrectly. When brushing, make sure that only a small amount of paste is used and use a soft-bristled brush. When brushing, have your child start with the inside of the teeth, then the outside and finally the surface. The bristles should be angled upward toward the gum line.
5. Don’t Let Your Child Suck Their Thumb After Permanent Teeth Appear
It’s not uncommon for a toddler to suck their thumb or to use a pacifier, and that’s perfectly fine. However, once permanent teeth start to erupt, you need to help your child break that habit. Continuing to thumb suck at this point could cause teeth to grow awkwardly, which leads to premature tooth wear, dental decay and a misaligned bite. To help your child break the habit, praise them when they aren’t thumb sucking and try to solve any anxiety they have.
It’s up to you to care for your child’s mouth to ensure they have the habits and skills they need to take care of their teeth as adults. If you would like more information regarding dental care for toddlers, contact Landmark Dental Group today.