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Oral Health Care for Toddlers: A Complete Guide

Team AckoFeb 9, 2024

Oral health care is very important, especially in toddlers and infants. It is one of the most important lessons that can be taught to the toddlers. Dental hygiene is very important. To prevent the teeth from decaying or getting affected by cavities, you should keep a check on the oral health care of your toddler’s teeth.



Why is oral care in toddlers important?

Oral health care from an early age is important to prevent the teeth from decaying. The first sign of tooth decay is a toothache which causes a lot of pain in and outside of the toddler’s mouth.

Plaque, a slimy substance, is formed on the enamel that covers the teeth. It contains bacteria, which breaks down the food and drink we eat every day and produces acid. This acid is entirely normal and healthy but it must be washed away regularly with proper cleaning of the teeth and gums. If the acid stays too long in the mouth, it starts to eat away at the enamel ( the hard shell of the tooth). This causes tooth decay.

IMPORTANT: Oral care tips for babies and toddlers

Symptoms of Tooth Decay in toddlers

The symptoms of tooth decay in toddlers must be addressed right away to prevent any further damage to his teeth. Look out for these symptoms:

-There is a change in the color of the tooth

-There is an intense and continuous pain in the tooth or mouth

-There are sore or bleeding gums

-There is a red swelling inside the mouth beside the painful tooth

-High fever

Proper steps to brush your Toddler’s teeth

The most important step in taking care of the toddler’s oral health is to make him brush at least twice a day. You should also teach them to rinse their mouth and clean their teeth after every meal. Regular dental checkups are also required. 

There are some proper ways on how to brush the toddler’s teeth. They are as follows:-

-You should use an ADA accepted Fluoride toothpaste and make sure the toddler does not swallow it.

-You should use toothpaste with soft bristles and first brush the inside surfaces of the teeth. Then you should brush the gum line gently.

-You should then brush the outer surfaces of the teeth and then again the gum line back and forth gently.

-You should then place the bristles of the brush on the chewing surfaces of the teeth and clean them gently.

Read now: Making your child brush her teeth without any help

How to effectively care for the Oral Health in Toddlers?

You can prevent tooth decay and cavities from happening by following these simple steps for the oral health care in toddlers. The steps are as follows:

-Regular dental checkups are very important. Toddlers should start their dental visits by their first birthday.

-You should teach your toddler the good oral care habits. Brushing twice a day is one of them. When the toddler has no teeth, you can wash the gums by using paste on a baby toothbrush. 

-You should start flossing when two of your toddler’s teeth are touching each other.

-You should brush and floss before bedtime as no food or water should be given after this until the morning.

-You should not put your baby down for a nap with a baby bottle of juice or milk. The sugary liquids feed the bacteria and help in the decaying of the teeth.

-Using a sippy cup all day can lead to decay on the back of the front teeth if there are sugary liquids present.

-Using a pacifier might be good up to a certain age but after t, at it only affects on how the toddler’s teeth would line up. 

-Some children’s medicines are sugary which might cling to the teeth increasing the chances of cavities and decaying. 

-Children on medications for chronic diseases like asthma or heart problems have a higher rate of tooth decay.

-Antibiotics can cause an overgrowth of yeast which might lead to a fungal infection called oral thrush. The symptoms of this are creamy patches on the tongue or inside of the mouth.

-You should be strict about brushing, flossing and rinsing. 

What to do when your toddler’s teeth begin to erupt?

The toddler’s teeth start to erupt at about 6 months and continue until age 3. This may cause the toddlers to have tender gums, which then makes them irritable. It helps if you rub the gums with your finger or a teething ring that was placed in the freezer. There are also pain relief gels and medications available for use when toddlers are teething. 

You should ask your dentist or pediatrician about the medications. If your child has a fever when teething, it's best to contact your physician to rule out the possibility of some other kind of condition.

Effective tips for oral health care in toddlers

-Breastfeeding is best for babies as it keeps the teeth and mouth clean.

-You should not put the toddler to sleep with a bottle in his mouth.

-From six months of age, the toddlers can start to drink from a cup.

-Water is the best drink for toddlers.

-Plain milk is a healthy drink choice.

-Healthy meals and snacks are important for healthy teeth.

-Toddlers do not need fruit juice or sweet drinks.

-You should start brushing toddler’s teeth as soon as they start to appear.

-Toddlers should have oral checkups started by the age of 2 years.

-Oral health care is important for the whole family.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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