Now that your child is a toddler, their smile has different needs from when they were a baby. At ACE Dental, your children’s dentist in Killeen cares for patients of all ages — and that includes your toddler! Here, we’ve got the top 5 tips for better oral health for toddlers.
#1: First Checkup and Cleaning
It may seem early, but the American Dental Association says your little one should visit the dentist around the time of their first birthday. This initial visit is important for introducing him or her to the idea of the dentist, and it’s also a good time for you to ask any questions you may have about their oral health.
During a checkup and cleaning at ACE Dental, we’ll briefly (but thoroughly) peek into the mouth, do a quick check to make sure their teeth are forming just like they should, and then give you tips and feedback based on our observations.
#2: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
If you sometimes put your little one to bed with a bottle or let him or her feed for an extended period of time, you’re putting those little teeth at risk of something known as baby bottle tooth decay. It occurs when sugars from milk, formula, and juice are allowed to linger on the teeth for long periods of time. Those sugars combine with the bacteria that’s naturally present in your baby’s mouth to create the acids that cause serious decay.
To limit the risk of baby bottle tooth decay…
- Limit the bottle’s contents to milk, formula, or water
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle
- Clean teeth after feedings
- Visit the dentist regularly
#3: Watch Out for Sugar
Snacks, treats, and even medicines created for children can pack a whopping dose of sugar — and you may not even realize that you’re exposing your toddler’s smile to major sugar bombs. Check the nutrition facts on your little one’s favorite snacks and treats. The American Heart Association says children get about three times the recommended sugar allowance. Kids should eat less than 25 grams of sugar daily.
#4: Develop Proper Habits (and Stay Firm)
Help your child’s healthy teeth stay healthy and clean by encouraging them to develop proper oral hygiene habits. Just like with your own smile, your little one should be brushing for two minutes, twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting ACE Dental twice a year. You will need to brush your child’s teeth until they’re around age 2. After that, your child will probably want to brush themselves — but make sure you’re re-brushing the hard-to-reach areas after they’ve finished. Continue to monitor oral hygiene until approximately age 12.
#5: Say Bye Bye to the Pacifier
The pacifier may be invaluable throughout the first year, but its long-term use can lead to problems with the development of the mouth and affect the way the teeth line up. Mouth breathing and speech problems can occur as a result of pacifier overuse. Wean your child from the pacifier by age 3.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Has your toddler had his or her first visit to the dentist? If not, it’s time to schedule an appointment at ACE Dental. We also accept walk-ins to make your life easier. Request an appointment or come in to one of our three convenient locations today!