Good dental hygiene starts in the first few months of a baby’s life and will affect their oral health well into adulthood.
So, how do you prevent cavities in toddlers and make sure your children have healthy teeth?
Three Steps to Healthy Teeth for Children
There are a few steps you can take to make sure your child’s teeth are in the best condition possible.
Teach Them to Brush Their Teeth
Teach good oral hygiene from a young age to ensure good dental health throughout childhood. Before your child even has teeth, get them used to the sensation by running a clean damp cloth over their gums.
As children get older you can introduce them to brushing their own teeth under supervision. Make sure you encourage children to spit toothpaste from an early age, to avoid them swallowing it.
Make learning fun and your child will enjoy brushing their teeth every day. A fun toothbrush designed for children will encourage them to spend time brushing their teeth. Turn it into a game: set a timer and see who can dance and brush their teeth for the whole two minutes!
Give Your Child Healthy Snacks
Avoid giving your child sugary snacks and instead replace them with healthy alternatives. Sugar will increase the risk of cavities, which can cause your child pain and damage their health.
Good snacks are things like carrot sticks as they are low in calories, encourage chewing, and have no added sugar. Small amounts of cheese can also be a great snack as it is full of protein and has an alkaline base, which helps to reduce damaging acid in the mouth.
Keep an eye on what your child is drinking, too. Sugary drinks will damage their teeth, so try to give them water when you can. The acid levels in fruit juice can erode enamel too, so limit these if possible and have your child drink them with a straw to minimize contact with the teeth.
Take Your Child to the Dentist
Introduce your child to the dentist by their first birthday. This will instill a routine from an early age and help them feel comfortable and familiar during visits.
A child’s first visit to the dentist will include a full oral exam to make sure their baby teeth are developing well. Strong baby teeth in a healthy condition lead to healthy permanent teeth in later life. Your dentist will be able to show you how to help keep your child’s teeth clean and prevent cavities, too.
Find a Children’s Dentist
All dentists will see children make sure they have healthy teeth, but some are better equipped than others for handling child-specific needs. A normal dentist surgery can feel clinical and unfriendly which may make your child uncomfortable.
Find a children’s dentist in your area, if you can, as they will be more experienced with very young babies and toddlers. They’ll provide a more relaxed atmosphere to make sure your child is happy to go to the dentist for every check-up in the future.
Dr. Perez has been in the private practice of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics for almost 30 years. He has been educated in top universities around the world, receiving training in the United States, Spain and Mexico. He is currently a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Perez is fluent in both Spanish and English.