The emergence of toddler teeth is an incredibly exciting milestone. Those first toothy toddler smiles, with their perfect mixture of gaps and gums, make for great photographs that you’ll treasure forever. But keeping their pearly white teeth looking white and strong will require hard work and commitment. Here are a few top tips for protecting your toddler’s teeth:
Focus on Cleaning
Cleaning their teeth should be an important part of your toddler’s daily routine. You should clean toddler teeth twice a day (at morning and night) using a small rounded toothbrush with soft bristles, and low fluoride toothpaste. This brush should be changed every three months, or more frequently if the bristles become bent and damaged.
Go to the Dentist
As soon as their first teeth begin to emerge, you should make an appointment for your child to see a dentist. Not only will this get them used to visiting the dental surgery, minimising the risk of any phobia, it will also highlight any potential problems sooner rather than later. Prevention is often better than a cure.
NHS dental services are free for children, but many orthodontic services are not. This is something to consider if your child has a wonky smile, or if either of their parents required braces to straighten their smile during their teenage years (the need for this kind of dental work is often hereditary). You can invest in dental health, and in protecting their smile, by securing dental insurance or beginning a savings account for any future orthodontics bills.
Ditch the Dummy
The emotional benefits for some children of having a dummy at an early age are hard to deny. However, it’s important to encourage your child to ditch their dummy as soon as possible before their third birthday, in order to minimise the risk to their smile. Dummies can push the teeth forward, and out of alignment, leaving your child with uneven teeth if it isn’t removed at the right stage.
Avoid Too Much Sugar
Modern toddlers consume far much sugar than in previous generations. Even good sugars (such as the sugars found in fresh fruit and fruit juice) can cause damage to your teeth, wearing the enamel and leading to fillings at an early age.
To avoid dental work whilst your children are young, stick to non-acidic snacks between meals, such as bread sticks, cheese cubes, and yoghurt. Avoid sugary fizzy drinks at all times, and offer only milk and water at meal times. That doesn’t mean you’re children can’t ever indulge in candy and desserts, but think about when these treats are offered to minimise the dental risk.