One of the best health lessons that you can give to your child is teaching them how to care for their teeth. From the age of 2, you should start teaching them how to brush and floss their teeth. However, you should not leave them to do this on their own until they are at least six years old. You should also introduce them to pediatric dentistry early enough.
The baby teeth will begin to develop from the age of 6 months and proceed to 3 years. Below are some of the things you should know about your toddler’s dental health:
- When the teeth begin to erupt, the child’s gum may become tender. This may cause them to start become irritable and their digestion may also be affected. You can rub the gums with a wet cloth to relieve the discomfort. You can also use tethering rings and relief medication. For relief medications and gels, it is best to ask for recommendations from a children dentist. However, if the child becomes ill during teething, do not just assume that it is the discomfort causing it. Take him or her to the dental clinic to be sure; it may be due to other health issues.
- Feeding bottles may cause pooling which can increase the chances of tooth decay. Therefore, avoid them especially when the baby is lying down and if you are giving them for a long period, fill them with water instead of milk.
- Pediatric dentists recommend that you start taking your child for checkup soon after the first teeth come out. The oral healthcare provider will monitor the growth and development of the teeth. With constant monitoring, dental and developmental problems can be identified and detected early enough. As a parent, you will learn how to care for your toddler’s teeth, fluoride needs, nutrition and how to prevent and respond to tooth injuries.
- When brushing the baby’s teeth, use toothpaste that is ADA accepted
- Take care to ensure that the child does not swallow toothpaste
- Buy a toothbrush that has soft bristles. You can soak it in water to make the bristles softer.
- When brushing, ensure that you clean all the surfaces of the teeth. Brush gently back and forth for at least two minutes.
- Some kids may result to thumb sucking when the teeth begin to erupt. This is a normal reflex action in most babies, but when it turns into a long-term habit, it can cause teeth developmental problems, which may result in tooth decay and premature teeth wear. Since thumb sucking is a normal reflex and the baby is doing what they feel is best for them, you should not address it with negative words or punishment. You can encourage the child to stop by praising him/her when not sucking the fingers. Putting a sock or gloves on the hand can also discourage the behavior. The other solution is to coat the fingers with bitter medication. You can get a prescription for this from your dentist.