Infant to Toddler Oral Health Care
My goal today is to provide you with information on the tools needed during teething and brushing, education on why and when to see the dentist, and tips & tricks you can use at home to ease your own parenting woes of getting your kids to brush their teeth.
I am going to start with the beginning of the child’s journey into oral health-which is the dreaded word-“TEETHING”
- First steps are normally teething, and most babies start getting their lower anterior/front teeth at about 5-6 months of age.
- It can be earlier, and it can be later.
- They will have 16 teeth erupt up until about the age of 2-3 when they will get their “2 year molars”.
- This is average and will not apply to every single child. The sequence will remain consistent from child to child but the timing wont.
Tools for Teething:
Here are some tools that can help alleviate the discomfort of teething.
- Teething rings
- Cold popsicles
- Cold washcloths
- Tylenol as directed about ½ hour prior to bedtime
- Lots of patience.
Be aware that there is no conclusive evidence that teething causes fevers and gastrointestinal illness. The only true sign of teething is the tooth. Be vigilant and rule out other illnesses before assuming it’s teething.
Once those teeth start appearing it is time to start cleaning them!
Tools for Brushing:
For Infants, here are some simple tools to help brush those first teeth.
- Infant toothbrushes/finger brushes
- Infant cloth brushes
Wipe their teeth after each feeding to prevent the natural sugars in formula, breastmilk, and regular milk from causing decay.
Once your child reaches the age of 2, it is time to acquire a regular tooth broth that is age appropriate and has soft bristles.
- Start teaching your child to hold their tooth brush on their own to allow them to develop the proper dexterity needed to brush in the future. This is similar to learning to hold a pencil.
- They can use fluoridated toothpaste, but only tiny smear until they learn to spit and make sure to supervise.
For more information on Dental tools: Click Here
- Find your child a dental home at age 1.
- Start early and develop a good rapport with the dentist before they get to the “Cleaning” stage.
- This allows for your dentist to detect early warning signs of issues.
- This visit normally consists of an exam and a topical fluoride application.
- Continue to see dentist every 6 months.
- We usually start performing actual proper cleanings at age 2.
Tips & Tricks:
- Have fun with it. Make it a game.
- Show them by example by demonstrating how you brush and floss your teeth.
- Lay them flat to brush-this really helps and gets them acclimated to a dental related visit as well. This is the #1 most effective way to get them to brush.
- When they are old enough-let them pick their toothbrush. (Make sure to guide them to the one that is appropriate to their age.)
- We hear all the time “he won’t let me” or “it’s such a struggle”- we understand it is hard and we want you to know that. However, you are the parent. Be assertive.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to us at (479) 268-5000
If you are already beyond this stage with your child-please share this content with your friends who may be first time parents or still have infants & toddlers in the home!