How to keep children's teeth healthy
Start brushing your little one’s teeth early and they’ll soon accept it as part of their daily routine. Here are our top tips for healthy toddler teeth
When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
It may seem a bit early, but a good time to start brushing is when their first milk tooth puts in an appearance. At first, your baby might resist having something put in their mouth. But if you persevere they’ll soon relax, and you’ll have taken the first step to proper dental care.
What toothbrush should I use?
Babies and toddlers need toothbrushes that are specially designed for milk teeth and delicate gums. They’ll have extra-soft bristles and a smaller head than an adult brush. Choose a toothpaste specifically for babies and toddlers, which will have a smaller amount of fluoride than adult toothpaste. However, as fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, it should contain some. Check the label on individual toothpastes for more information.
How do I clean my toddler’s teeth?
Using a toddler brush, add a small amount of toothpaste (less than the size of a pea for under-threes), then brush in small circular motions. If they hate having their teeth brushed, encourage them with rewards like an extra story, or take them to the shop and allow them to choose their own brush.
Food and drink for healthy toddler teeth
Sugary snacks and sweets cause the mouth to become more acidic. This acid then attacks the enamel (the outer layer) of teeth, which can cause cavities (holes). To protect teeth from decay, avoid giving your toddler too many sugary snacks and give them water or milk between meals instead of juice or fizzy drinks.
Teeth need calcium to make them strong, and you can find it in dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and milk. Your toddler will also need vitamin D to help absorb the calcium, so their diet should contain foods such as eggs, oily fish and fortified breakfast cereals.
When should I take my toddler to the dentist?
Take your child to the dentist with you whenever you go for a check-up. It’ll get them used to seeing the dentist’s chair. If they see you looking happy and comfortable, it’ll stop them feeling scared when it’s their turn. When they’re about one year old, you can make an appointment for them. It’s a good idea to start taking them this young because dentists can identify any problems early and give you the best prevention and care advice.
By Anna Penniceard