It is quite a challenge to make sure that your little one’s oral hygiene is on point. Keeping up with a little powerhouse of energy that runs around and puts anything and everything into its mouth keeps you on your toes. When your toddler is 24 months old, it will have all its teeth apart from its molars. These are its primary or baby teeth, which fall off around the age of 6 or 7. These teeth are responsible for biting, chewing, and holding space for permanent teeth which grow in their place. If they fall off too early, due to decay or infections, the remaining teeth will fill up the empty spaces and not leave any room for the permanent teeth to come in. Tooth decay in toddlers is a transmissible disease that causes pain and is costly to treat. Since it is preventable, you should establish healthy dental habits for your little one. It is better to be safe than sorry. Here are a few things you can do to take care of your little one’s baby teeth.
1. Limit Sugar Intake
Sugar is one of the major causes of tooth decay. Sugar contains glucose, a simple carbohydrate, which is easily broken down by bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria use the sugar to produce acids, which attack the teeth and damage them. You should limit your toddler’s intake of candies and replace them with healthier snacks such as fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, peanut butter, and cheese.
2. Limit Intake Of Fruit Juices
Fruit juices have a high very high concentration of sugar. They should be served to children during meals or not at all. The daily serving of fruit juices should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces.
3. Fill Bottles With Water
If your toddler walks around with a sippy cup or a baby bottle in its mouth for long periods of time, make sure that it is filled with water instead of milk or juices. Do not let it get into the habit of going to bed with baby bottles. Instead, train it to start drinking from normal cups, which cannot be taken to bed, after it is 14 to 15 months old.
4. Brush Twice A Day With Fluoride-Containing Toothpaste
Fluoride makes teeth resistant to acids produced by bacteria. If your little one’s teeth do not get enough fluoride, irreversible tooth decay can occur. Brushing the teeth with fluoride-containing toothpaste twice a day will make its teeth resistant to decay. Drinking fluoridated water is also beneficial for its teeth. If your water is not fluoridated, you can consult a dentist and use a fluoride varnish on your young one’s teeth to prevent decay.
5. Floss Between The Teeth
Brushing is not always enough to get rid of all the food particles stuck between the teeth. If food particles remain in the mouth for a long period of time, they can lead to the growth of bacteria. Flossing is an effective way to get rid of all the gunk stuck between the teeth.
6. Limit Snacks In Between Meals
Do not encourage unhealthy snacking in between meals. Each time your toddler snacks on something sweet or sugary, its teeth are attacked by acids for about 20 minutes. Switch to healthier and more nutritious snacking options.
7. Avoid sharing spoons
You should avoid sharing spoons with your young one to prevent the transmission of bacteria from your mouth to theirs. As an adult, your mouth will harbor a larger variety of bacteria which can easily pass on to your toddler through saliva. Avoiding the transmission of bacteria will greatly reduce the chances of tooth decay.
Since your toddler learns what it sees and what you teach it, it is your responsibility to establish good dental habits. After your little one is 6 months old, you should take it to the pediatric dentist every 4 to 6 months. By the time it is a year old, it should have had a thorough dental examination. A healthy smile is a sign of a healthy and happy toddler.