It’s important to start involving your toddler in their own dental hygiene routine as early on as you can.
Those who already have a toddler know this is not an easy task. Getting a toddler involved in any type of activity can be challenging at times, as it involves a lot of chasing around.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) suggests that a correct dental hygiene starts as soon as teeth begin to appear.
Once your baby becomes a toddler, they are old enough to gradually start becoming responsible for their own dental hygiene.
Let’s take a look at 4 efficient tips of promoting healthy dental practices for your toddler while also getting them involved.
1. Start early with dental visits
The general rule with dental visits is: the earlier, the better.
ADA suggests taking your baby to their first dental check-up by the age of 12 months, or when your baby’s teeth become visible.
An appointment with your baby’s dentist can teach you how to properly take care of your child’s teeth.
The dentist can also offer you useful tips on how to deal with stubborn behaviours when it comes to teeth brushing and how to effectively promote dental practices for your toddler.
2. Brush and floss your toddler’s teeth
It is important to start brushing your child’s teeth when they start to become visible. As soon as two teeth start touching, flossing also becomes necessary.
Here are a few important things to consider:
- Use a soft children’s brush and water with babies under 18 months.
- From 18 months onward, you can start using toothpaste when brushing your child’s teeth
- Use soft circular motions when brushing. Most people have the tendency to brush vigorously but think of it more as massaging your child's teeth than brushing them
- Flossing is also necessary for your toddler’s dental hygiene
If you are not sure, your dentist can teach you the right way to brush and floss your toddler’s teeth.
How can you make your toddler’s teeth brushing more fun?
Create a game out of it.
You can put on your toddler’s favourite song while they brush-brush-brush. Or try finding a toothpaste or toothbrush with one of their favourite cartoon characters on it.
Brushing their teeth will become the highlight of their day.
3. Focus on prevention
Promoting your toddler’s dental hygiene starts with healthy dental practices but continues with a healthy diet.
Here are a few suggestions to promote healthy dental practices for your toddler:
- Brushing and flossing twice a day
- Limit the sugary foods your toddler eats on a daily basis (lollies, snack bars, soft drinks)
- Try to choose unprocessed foods as snacks (like vegetables, cheeses and lean meats)
How can you include your toddler in promoting healthy dental practices daily?
Try making a brushing and flossing interactive chart. Each time they remember to brush their teeth and floss by themselves they get rewarded with a fun sticker.
At the end of each week or month, they can trade their stickers for a reward, such as toy they’ve been dreaming of.
4. Consistently check for tooth decay
You can make a habit to regularly check your toddler’s mouth for early signs of tooth decay.
What are the early signs of teeth cavities?
- White patches are the first signs of tooth decay and they can be reversed
- Grey, brown or black spots indicate more serious decay.
If you identify any of these signs on your toddler’s teeth book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
It’s never too early to start modelling a healthy dental behaviour for your baby. Start now by finding a dentist near you on the Australian Dental Association’s website.