With so much information out there, it can be hard to know exactly what it best for your children – especially when it comes to their oral health! Your child’s mouth changes dramatically in their first 5 years, and there are lots you can do to ensure their teeth get the best start in life.
We’ve broken it down for you to make things easier; first we look at babies and now we’re going to take a look at your children’s teeth when they’re toddlers …
Toddlers: 1 to 3 years
Once any of your child’s teeth appear, you should start brushing them and young children should see the dentist as often as adults, every six months, so by the time they’re toddlers, they should be getting used to an oral hygiene routine and the dentist.
Don’t worry if your child’s teeth are taking their tie to grow through, every child's development is different, and your child's teeth will come through when they're ready, and you can always visit your dentist if you’re concerned.
Tips for toddlers:
- Your child will need your help to brush their teeth until they're around seven or eight-years-old, but their toddler years offer the perfect opportunity to let them have a little try on their own with supervision.
- Once the gaps have closed between your child’s teeth they can floss.
- Even some adults find the dentist's office a scary place, so it's understandable that our children often do too! Luckily, there are a few ways you can help your child embrace the idea of going for a check up
- Start early. Regular visits are the first step in keeping your toddler calm during appointments. We recommend at least one visit before their first birthday
- Rehearse the visit. Before their check-up, pretend to be the dentist, ask them to open their mouth and using something like a toothbrush, pretend to check their teeth. This will familiarise your child with the process and make them much more relaxed.
- Don't bribe them! It may seem like a good idea, but offering your child a treat if they visit the dentist can actually increase their anxiety. It tells them there is something to be anxious about
- Bring their favourite toy. A familiar friend will help them feel at ease
Limiting fruit juice to meal times will greatly reduce your toddler's exposure to sugar, which can badly damage their teeth.
Beware of sippy cups
It's a problem most parents aren't aware of, but sippy cups and bottles are in fact two of the leading causes of tooth decay in the UK. Giving a child a bottle containing milk, formula or any drink other than water for a long period of time can seriously damage their teeth – especially just before bedtime. Bottles and sippy cups expose your child's teeth to a prolonged acid attack which can cause serious tooth decay. To prevent any damage, ensure their bottle is taken away as soon as they've finished drinking, and don't give them any sweetened drinks in a bottle.