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Parenting Zone   »   Articles   »   How Do I Care For My Toddlers Teeth?

How Do I Care For My Toddlers Teeth?
Written by A Kids Site Staff on 01/01/70
When you get your picture taken, everyone says, "Say cheese! Smile!" So you do - you open your mouth and show your teeth. When you see the picture, you see a happy person looking back at you. The healthier those teeth are, the happier you look. Why is that? It's because your teeth are important in many ways. If you take care of them, they'll help take care of you. Strong, healthy teeth help you chew the right foods to help you grow. They help you speak clearly. And yes, they help you look your best.

How Do I Care for My Toddler's Teeth?

Passing on good oral habits to your child is one of the most important health lessons you can teach them. This means helping him or her brush twice a day, showing the proper way to floss, limiting between-meal snacks and seeing your dentist regularly.

Most dentists recommend that children start their dental visits by the age of two. In addition to giving your dentist a chance to monitor your child's dental growth and development, this is your chance to learn abouttooth development , the need for fluoride, diet and nutrition , and how to prevent oral injuries.

Always emphasize that a dental visit is a positive experience. Explain to your child that visiting the dentist helps maintain good oral health. By fostering a positive attitude, you'll increase the chances that yourchild will see a dentist regularly throughout life.

What's the Proper Way to Brush My Toddler's Teeth?

It's a good idea to supervise your child's brushing until the age of 6,following the guidelines below:

  • Use a pea-sized amount of an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
  • Take care that your child doesn't swallow the paste.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles, brush inside surfaces of all teeth first, where plaque accumulates most. Angle bristles toward the gumline. Brush gently back and forth.
  • Clean all outside surfaces of teeth. Angle bristles toward the gumline. Brush gently back and forth.
  • Place brush so bristles are on the chewing surface of the teeth. Brush gently back and forth.

Keeping teeth clean

Cleaning your toddler's teeth needs to become part of his daily hygiene routine, in the morning and last thing before bed.  Your aim is to clear all food debris from on or between the teeth. Use a small, soft toothbrush with a pea-sized helping of children's fluoride toothpaste and an up and down motion. Don't let your toddler get into the habit of sawing from side to side; it doesn't clean teeth and may damage gums.

Clean your toddler's teeth at least twice every day. Make sure that the last time is after supper so that food remnants do not stay in the mouth all night.

Cleaning teeth thoroughly is a great deal easier said than done. If your toddler would allow you to look carefully in his mouth under a good light, you'd probably be appalled at the number of bits of frosted flakes that had withstood your best after-breakfast efforts. If you can see them though, you can brush them off; do everything you can to persuade your child to co-operate so you don't have to brush blind. If copying you, or having a turn brushing your teeth, no longer interests him, try a mirror. If he will look at his own teeth, so can you. If he will point at them with a finger - to count, or perhaps name them - he might let you point with that brush.

It's also important to visit the dentist twice a year. Besides checking for signs of cavities or gum disease, the dentist will help keep your teeth extra clean, and he or she can help you learn the best way to brush and floss.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink water instead of soda. AND DON'T FORGET TO SMILE!