We bet you can't believe how quick your little one is growing. As your baby becomes a toddlers it's important to set the foundations for their future oral health. This is the time to start preparing them to take responsibilty of their own dental health.
Positivity around dental appointments is the key during early childhood. Creating a positive association will not only make trips to the dentist easier, it will also increase the chances of your child regularly visiting the dentist in the future. Be positive before and after their visit to the dentist by explaining the importance of their appointments and why they need to visit the dentist.
It’s a natural reaction for toddlers to suck on their thumb or finger. Although it may not cause much damage early on, if the habit persists after permanent teeth have erupted it can lead to problems with the growth of the mouth and jaw, as well as the position of the teeth.
Prolonged thumb sucking causes the front teeth and the structure of the bones surrounding the them to be pushed outward. This can then lead to problems with your child’s bite. The affects of thumb sucking can also be felt in adulthood with premature tooth wear, increased decay, and an uncomfortable bite.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to try and stop your child from sucking their thumb. If the habit persists, consult with a dental professional or doctor to look for alternative strategies.
This is an important time to start reinforcing a good oral health routine in your child. Being positive about oral health will increase the chance of your child keeping a consistent oral health routine throughout their life.
During this stage your toddler still needs a little help brushing their teeth. Use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristled tooth brush. Clean their teeth in a similar fashion to how you do yours but be a little gentler. Use gentle circular motions on the inside and outside surfaces, and a back and forth motion on the chewing surface. Your dentist can help you with tips and tricks to make brushing your little one’s teeth easier.
You can find toothbrushes with your child’s favourite superhero or movie character at most local supermarkets to make the experience a little more fun (just make sure they are soft bristled). Children also tend to swallow toothpaste when brushing rather than spitting it out, so a kid-friendly toothpaste is also a good idea.
Start encouraging your toddler to drink water. Avoid adding juices or cordials to water as they are high in sugar and acid which stimulates the bacteria in your child’s saliva. This saliva can pool in the mouth and lead to early childhood dental decay.
Try and stick to eating at meal times. Limit the snacks that you give your child to as little as possible. Avoid sugary snacks and instead opt for vegetables or dairy products. Whilst avoiding snacks is ideal, choosing healthy options will decrease the chances of tooth decay and also start to reinforce a positive attitude toward healthy foods.
Getting your toddler in the habit of practicing a good oral health routine is all about building the foundations for them to takeover their dental health. Once they are around the age of 7 or 8, they will be old enough to take the reigns and care for their own teeth. Read how you can help your child once they reach during early childhood in our next blog.
Remember to check whether you’re eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS). The CDBS subsidises up to $1000 worth of dental treatment for eligible children aged 2 to 17 over a two calendar year period.