If you are a first-time parent, it can be stressful learning the right ways to help your child grow up happy and healthy. We understand and are ready to help. Below, you will find information on how to properly care for your toddler’s emerging teeth. For more information on toddler dental care, we recommend you consult with our Grand Rapids pediatric dentist.
Schedule a Dentist Appointment
It’s important that you get your child in to see our pediatric dentist before their first birthday. Our pediatric dentist will make sure that your toddler’s teeth and gums are healthy and developing normally. It’s also good to get into the habit of scheduling regular dentist appointments for your child. Make sure to talk with your child about their upcoming visit so they know what to expect and have a good experience.
Wean Toddler off Pacifier
Pacifiers are a great way to soothe your baby. However, once your child approaches the age of three, it’s time to start weaning them off the pacifier. Long-term use of a pacifier can cause your child’s teeth and jaws to grow around the pacifier as they develop. Dental damage from pacifier overuse causes the front teeth to become noticeably tipped forward, which creates bite problems. Thumb sucking has much of the same effect on your toddler’s teeth.
Check for Tooth Decay
Healthy toddler teeth should not have brown or white stains. This is a sign of pediatric tooth decay and must be treated by our pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Brushing your toddler’s teeth is the perfect opportunity to check their gums and newly emerging teeth. Toddler dental problems are more likely to go unnoticed when parents don’t check their children’s teeth on a regular basis.
Assist with Teeth Brushing
When your child is between 12 and 18 months old, you will want to brush their teeth for them twice a day with a wet toothbrush. No toothpaste is needed at this dental developmental stage. Once your child is 24 months old, you want to start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste and keep brushing their teeth twice a day.
As a pediatric dentistry, we often get asked by parents how to get a toddler to brush his teeth. When you try teaching your toddler how to brush their own teeth, it’s normal to be met with some resistance. Most toddlers are more than happy to chew on their toothbrush, but are not happy when it’s time to start brushing.
We recommend singing their favorite song during teeth brushing time or demonstrating teeth brushing on their favorite toys. Anything that tickles your child’s funny bone should be taken advantage of during teeth brushing time to ensure their cooperation. Help your child brush their teeth until they have the hand coordination to do it themselves.
Watch Your Language!
Kids learn their fear of the dentist at home, either by listening to their parents talk about it or by watching movies and TV shows that paint the dentist’s office as a scary place to be. You can help mitigate some of this fear by using positive language when talking about visiting the dentist and brushing teeth.
At our office, kids come first. We’re happy to provide a safe environment where kids can learn that the dentist can be fun! With a little help from you, your kids will look forward to going to the dentist in no time!
Ready to Make an Appointment?
If you would like to learn more about dental health for toddlers or are interested in our Grand Rapids pediatric dentistry services, please feel free to give us a call at (616) 942-9840. Dr. Kingma DDS has dedicated his career toward offering the highest level of pediatric dental care to toddlers and older children.
[This blog post has been updated.]