Dental Health For Babies & Toddlers
From the time your children get their first teeth until the whole set is complete, they’ll eat anything and everything they can hold. It feels great just to see them finally munching and enjoying solid foods.
Cute as it is to watch them discover the joys of eating, now is also the time to start building good dental health habits and becoming familiar with children’s dentistry practices.
How Babies Teeth Develop
Teething begins anywhere between 4 to 10 months when your child’s first baby teeth (or primary teeth) will appear. Babies have 20 teeth when born, which will come out of the gums completely when they reach two to three years old. Don’t be troubled if your baby’s teeth appear earlier or later compared to others. Teeth growth is an individual milestone so it varies with every child.
The bottom jaw’s centre teeth usually come through the gums first. A complete set of temporary teeth for toddlers is composed of four sets of first molar, second molar, canine tooth, lateral incisor, and central incisor. Teething can be quite uncomfortable for babies. Giving them dummies, chilled teething rings, or washcloths can help ease the pain. If you have any concerns about your baby’s teeth growth, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist.
Why Take Care of Baby Teeth early?
Good dental health for babies and toddlers should be a top priority. Aside from helping your child chew food, baby teeth also aid in pronouncing words properly. They also reserve spots in the jaw for the permanent teeth to come out of the gums later.
These temporary teeth are prone to decay as soon as they appear. Which is why you need to protect your child’s teeth and keep them clean. Preventing any cavities and infections from damaging the baby teeth will also protect the permanent teeth from harm.
Although postponing your child’s first dental visit until the baby teeth are complete makes sense, it’s also advisable that you get expert advice right away. This will help you protect your child’s teeth properly.
How to Brush Your Child’s Teeth
Proper brushing is the first step towards good dental health for your baby or toddler. Find a good quality, soft children’s toothbrush for your child. At first, you can just wet it with cold water, then you can use toothpaste once the toddler reaches 18 months. Be gentle when brushing your child’s teeth. The best way to do it is by sitting behind your child, with his/her head resting against your body so he/she will feel secure. Get a mirror in front of you to have a better view of inside the mouth. Brush the teeth in circles, making sure to cover the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces. Don’t forget to brush your child’s tongue as well.
Once two teeth appear side by side, you can also start flossing. Make sure to ask your dentist for the correct technique to avoid hurting your baby. To make brushing and flossing a fun experience for your children, you can play along with some good music. You can also get a toothbrush with their favourite TV or movie character to keep them interested.
When your child reaches two years old, you can start teaching them to do the brushing on their own. Although, your help and supervision are necessary until your child reaches a suitable age to brush their teeth on their own.
How to maintain good dental health
In order to keep the children’s teeth healthy, you need to clean them twice a day. Once in the morning and once before bedtime should do it. Refrain from giving them too much sugary foods and drinks. As much as possible, give your kids healthy and unprocessed food like vegetables, meats, and cheese.
Also, regularly check for signs of decay like white patches or grey spots. This way, you can prevent the cavities from worsening. Visit your dentist right away once you notice these signs.
Choosing the Right Toothbrush
The best toothbrush for your child is a soft children’s toothbrush. Get the ones with small round heads, bristles of varying height, and a non-slip handle. You can choose either an electric or manual toothbrush, whichever is more appealing to your child. The key is to get them engaged so the habit can start.
Make sure to clean the toothbrush after every use with tap water. Allow to air-dry and store it in a clean place. Keep it from touching other used toothbrushes to avoid any germs from transferring. Lastly, ensure that your child’s toothbrush is replaced every 3-4 months.
Start Regular Check-ups at the Dentist
To help maintain good dental health for babies and toddlers, it’s important to have regular visits to the dentist after their first teeth appear. Introduce them to dental professionals in a positive and educating way. Never use dental check-ups as a means to frighten them because it will retain a negative perception in their minds. Teaching your kids the importance of regular check-ups at the dentist will assure them of good oral health when they grow up.
At Pymble Dental, we have dentists who are dedicated to making a visit to the dentist a safe and comfortable experience for children of all ages.
Contact us if you’re looking for quality family dental services in Sydney’s North Shore or call now on (02) 9488 7676.