Unfortunately, tooth decay is a common problem in infants and young children.
But, with the right care, regular dental check-ups and healthy habits, it’s possible to help your child maintain a healthy set of teeth for life. Here’s how to look after your toddler’s oral health…
- Keep them clean
Even if your toddler only has a few teeth, it’s essential that you keep them clean. As soon as their first teeth erupt, you can begin to brush them gently with a soft, small toothbrush and some water. After around the age of two years old, you can start to use a small amount of toothpaste. It’s important that you encourage a healthy oral routine from a young age, so that your child can continue to look after their own teeth when they are old enough.If you need to entice your child to brush their teeth, try and find ways to make the routine fun. Find a toothbrush in your child’s favourite colour, and stick up a tooth brushing chart in the bathroom to keep them motivated! We have a range of fun and educational resources available for download, so please feel free to take a look and see if there is anything you might find helpful.
- Schedule regular check-ups
It’s a good idea to start bringing your child in to see us as soon as they develop their first teeth. We recommend that you bring your child in for their first dental visit before they reach the age of two. This will give us the chance to assess their baby teeth, and keep track of their development as your child gets older.It’s important that your child sees us every six months. Regular check-ups are extremely important throughout childhood because children are actually more prone to tooth decay than adults. In fact, the most common dental problem that we see in babies and young children is decay. The only way we can catch and treat dental decay early is by checking your child’s teeth on a regular basis.
- Instil good eating and drinking habits
A lot of parents give their babies a bottle of milk or juice to help them fall asleep at night, but did you know that this habit can put your child in danger of developing bottle decay? Decay can occur as a result of prolonged exposure to the sugars in milk or juice. Try to avoid getting into the habit of giving your child a bottle when they’re already in bed, and also avoid letting your little one sip continuously on a bottle or cup of juice. If possible, try to rather fill your toddler’s bottle or cup with water.Another common issue that causes decay in preschool children is frequent exposure to sugary, starchy, and acidic foods and drinks. Snacking often tends to promote dental decay because the bacteria in plaque produce acid from foods and drinks. When the teeth are exposed to these acids, decay can occur. Encourage your child to eat snacks that promote oral health, rather than sweet treats like cookies and sweets. High-fibre produce like apples, carrots and celery are good options, while milk, cheese and yoghurt help to strengthen and protect teeth.
For more tips on keeping your child’s teeth healthy, please take a look here.
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