Toddler Time Handout

Toddler Time Handout

Dental home at 12 months

It is important to educate children about oral health from a young age, starting with training them to brush properly and regularly. Brushing should be supervised until you are confident that they can safely do it on their own without the risk of swallowing toothpaste. In addition to oral hygiene instruction, children should learn the importance of taking care of their teeth and the consequences of not doing so.

Risk factors of Early Childhood Caries (ECC)

Certain factors put children at risk for caries (cavities). These include:

  • Special health care needs
  • Grazing (frequent snacking on drinks and foods)
  • Liquid medicine, such as Zyrtec
  • Drinking milk/juice/sweetened liquid in a bottle or sippy cup before bed
  • Reflux (GERD) – stomach acid contacting teeth

To lower the risk of ECC, parents can minimize saliva-sharing activity and ensure that brushing happens twice a day – after breakfast and before bedtime.

Diet and drinks

When sugar and bacteria come together, plaque is formed. This substance is harmful to the teeth, which is why brushing is important for removing it regularly.

  • Limit sugar consumption; choose natural sugar over processed when possible.
  • Avoid carbs (such as crackers and bread); Cheerios are a better choice
  • Reduce between-meal snacks
  • Water is the best option for teeth; limit sugary drinks, including watered-down juice

Toothbrushing and flossing

Technique: brush at a 45-degree angle, in the direction that teeth grow. Use fluoride toothpaste (rice-size/smear for children under two, pea-size for children 2-5 years) with the eruption of the first tooth. If flossing is difficult, a floss pick with a handle can be helpful.

Fluoride and Xrays:

This mineral occurs naturally in foods and water such as teas and grape juices. It is also available in products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. To ensure that you or your child are receiving a sufficient amount of fluoride, talk to your dentist about a fluoride treatment at Islands Pediatric Dentistry every six months. Our Policy is to recommend

  1. In-office topical fluoride treatment every 6 months.
  2. X-rays as recommend by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Thumbs, fingers, pacifiers

It is natural for children to suck on their thumb or a pacifier when they are small, but if they are having trouble giving it up as they age, talk to your dentist about strategies for stopping their use as they could interfere with healthy teeth and mouth development.