Oral Health for Toddlers: How can I protect my child’s teeth?

family dentist Sterling Heights

Your child’s oral health is important at any age. Even young children can develop decay and other oral health maladies. Parents can protect their child’s teeth and gums by helping them clean their mouths, preparing healthy foods low in sugar and acid, and by keeping routine appointments with their family dentist.

Cleaning Your Toddler’s Mouth

Young children will need assistance with oral care. Before teeth fully emerge, parents should wipe their children’s gums and emerging teeth with gauze or a soft cloth. Toothpaste isn’t necessary at this time. Just dampening a cloth or piece of gauze is sufficient for removing surface debris like leftover food and plaque.

Once baby teeth have come through the gums, parents can begin brushing their toddler’s teeth with a small, soft toothbrush. If parents decide to incorporate toothpaste at this time, no more than a pea-sized amount should be used.

As children get older, they can begin brushing with supervision. It’s important that parents monitor their child’s oral hygiene to ensure that they are brushing correctly and developing healthy habits. Normally, by age 11, children should be able to brush and floss without supervision.

Avoiding Sugar and Acid

Sugar and acid are dangerous to your child’s oral health. Sugar is a food source for the harmful bacteria, Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus, that cause cavities.

As these harmful bacteria feed on sugar, they produce acids that weaken tooth enamel. These bacteria also form plaque – a sticky translucent film that coats teeth and gums. Moderating sugar consumption can help control these harmful bacteria and lower your child’s risk for tooth decay.

Acidic foods like citrus, juice, and sodas also harm teeth by weakening tooth enamel. Whenever possible, parents should monitor their children’s consumption of acidic foods and drinks.

The Importance of Dental Checkups

Scheduling routine dental checkups with our family dentist helps keep your toddler’s teeth healthy. Frequent checkups make it possible to detect concerns in their earliest stages. Addressing oral health concerns early on helps prevent the need for complex and invasive treatments associated with advanced dental issues.

If it’s time to schedule a checkup for your child, give our family dental practice a call.