It’s never too early to start building good oral health habits. As soon as your tot starts teething, they should see a dentist regularly. Read on to find out more about instilling good dental hygiene habits in your tinies and toddlers.
In the past, we’ve written about how to encourage oral health in teenagers. However, good dental habits should be instilled right from the time the first tooth appears. Indeed, it’s never too early to start caring for your teeth. Establishing good habits in early childhood is a great way to ensure your child maintains those habits as they grow up.
How To Look After Baby’s First Teeth
By the age of three, most children have their full set of baby teeth. However, waiting until all these teeth have grown to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment is not recommended. The Australian Dental Association suggests booking your baby with a dentist as soon as their first tooth appears. If your child has reached the age of one without growing any teeth, it is also suggested that this be checked by a dental professional.
Just like adult teeth, baby teeth need care and attention. As soon as your child has teeth, it is critically important to keep those teeth clean. Be sure to use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid causing any discomfort to your child. While your child is under the age of 18 months, brushing with just water is fine. However, you should switch to child-friendly toothpaste once you hit that year and a half mark. Child-friendly toothpaste is specially designed for babies and young children and can be swallowed without causing any digestive issues. Once your child has two or more teeth that touch, you can start gently flossing between them.
Dental Hygiene and Bottle Feeding – What Do You Need to Know?
It is important to note that milk, juice, and even baby formula all contain sugar. If you feed your child using a bottle, you shouldn’t give them sugary liquid outside their prescribed meal times. Especially not if they are preparing for a nap or going to bed. This is because lying down while drinking from a bottle is not only a choking hazard but can also result in prolonged exposure of the teeth to sugar. As the liquid pools in the mouth, over time, it can cause a condition known as ‘bottle mouth’ or ‘baby bottle tooth decay.’ It is more common in the top teeth and is characterised by discolouration and cavities. In extreme cases, it can even result in the need for tooth extraction. If you feed your child sugary liquids in a bottle, it is suggested that you give them water to drink afterwards. Also, encourage them to rinse their mouths to wash away any remaining sugar.
Training Your Toddler to Care for Their Teeth
Once your child is old enough to take an active role in their dental care routine, encouraging their enthusiastic participation is a great way to instill life-long habits. Even something as simple as allowing them to choose their toothbrush in their favourite colour or selecting their favourite flavour of toothpaste is a good way to get them excited about dental care. Positive reinforcement, such as rewards for brushing for a full two minutes or brushing at least twice a day, can also go a long way in creating and maintaining a good dental hygiene routine. Toddlers should also be encouraged to floss gently. Our dentists can advise you on teaching your toddler to floss without causing pain. Be sure to use an appropriately sized toothbrush and replace it every three to six months.
How Can We Help?
At Beenleigh Marketplace Dental, we provide dentistry services for the whole family. Our team loves working with patients of all ages to ensure excellent oral health. We will happily advise you regarding age-appropriate care for your child’s teeth. We pride ourselves on practicing compassionate dentistry, and we are sensitive to the fact that it can be scary seeing a dentist at any age. Our practice is a soothing, tranquil environment designed to provide stress-free dental services for all our patients.
To learn more about our practice and the services we offer, please see here.
To make a booking, please complete our online form or call us on (07) 3801 8799.