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oral health toddlers dentist port washington ny

Dental Care for Toddlers

Starting your child’s dental care as early as possible will prevent cavities and other dental issues. Caring for toddler’s teeth is fairly easy, but it’s important to help your child develop good habits early in life.

Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth

Your child should brush twice a day as soon as their teeth appear. Most children can start brushing with help from their parents when they’re three years old. Until your toddler reaches the age of six, you should supervise his or her brushing.

Use about a pea-sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste, making sure that your toddler doesn’t swallow it. With a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth. Angle the toothbrush’s bristles toward the gums as you brush. Your toddler should also floss just before bedtime.

Teach Good Eating Habits

Teaching your child good brushing and flossing habits from a young age will help them maintain their dental health into adulthood. Toddlers might not want to brush and floss, but make sure they know it’s not a negotiable part of their morning or evening routine.

When kids are very tired, they usually don’t want to brush. Having them brush and floss a little earlier in the evening can be easier for them than brushing and flossing right before bedtime when they’re exhausted. However, make sure the only drink your child has after brushing is water.

Problems to Watch Out For

You should watch out for baby bottle tooth decay, which can occur when your child takes a nap with a bottle of milk or juice. The sugar can cling to a tooth and lead to tooth decay. Only give your toddler water in a bottle before they go to sleep.

Drinking from a sippy cup all day can also lead to tooth decay, especially on the back of the front teeth. A sippy cup is a good tool for transitioning to drinking from a glass, but your toddler shouldn’t have one all day long.

Some children’s medicines are flavored or sugary, and they can increase the risk of cavities if they stick to a tooth. If your child is taking one of these medications, he or she may have to brush more than twice a day. Ask your dentist how often your child should brush.

If your child continues with a thumb-sucking habit after the age of three or four, it can cause issues with the mouth and jaw. Try to use positive reinforcement to break this habit by praising your kids when they don’t suck their thumbs.