Yes, they are only around for a short while, but healthy primary teeth are still important. Strong baby teeth set the stage for even stronger adult teeth. When you help children establish good oral care practices early, they will continue those habits for life.
Top 3 No-Nos for Toddlers
There are several factors that can negatively impact your child’s dental health, including a poor diet, teething, and being put to bed with a bottle. These are the top three reasons why young children experience tooth pain and early decay.
Going to Bed with a Bottle: The AAPD reports the most common cause of tooth decay in toddlers is going to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. The sugar, acids, and enzymes in these beverages linger on young tooth enamel all night, creating an opportunity for harmful bacteria to thrive. It is a good idea to never serve toddlers sweet liquids in a bottle.
Eating Unhealthy Foods: Poor eating habits can also lead to tooth decay. Eating unhealthy foods or allowing kids to indulge in sugary treats regularly will likely damage their teeth. For better oral health, limit how often your youngster ingests sweet foods and drinks. Include a sugary treat with a meal, instead of as snacks during the day.
Not Brushing Teeth: Start cleaning your young child’s mouth from the very start. If only one or two teeth have erupted, brush them regularly. As your toddler matures, encourage your child to start taking the lead. In the beginning, use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and some water to clean the new teeth and gums every day. For babies, wipe the gums with a wet washcloth.
If you teach your child good oral care habits early and avoid these harmful practices, your toddler will be less likely to develop cavities, experience tooth pain or other dental health issues.