Whether you’ve heard whimpering from discomfort or experienced a bitten finger, teething can begin as early as 3 months old and take up to 3 years for your child to have a full set of 20 baby teeth. Since oral health has such a profound impact on a person’s overall health, it’s important to know how you can care for your little ones teeth before they can do it on their own for a healthy long life and excellent oral hygiene habits. While some children don’t seem bothered by their first teeth arriving, others can experience a lot of pain when teething. Sometimes the toddler teething symptoms seem unrelated and scary for new parents, so it’s good to know a few of the more common changes in behavior and conditions. Here are some dental care tips to help with teething and toddler brushing teeth.
What You Need To Know About Toddler Dental Care
Watch For Toddler Teething
After the symptoms of teething come the teeth and it is so exciting as a parent to watch that happen. Once kids have teeth they need to start caring for them.
Toddler Teething Symptoms:
- Drooling more than usual
- Swollen and red or even bruised gums
- Crankiness from pain
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Biting or sucking due to sensitive gums
- Skin rash around the mouth from excessive drooling
- Rubbing ears
- Flu-like symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting
- Low fever from gum inflammation
- Bleeding as a tooth breaks through the gums
Soothing your child’s aches depends on the severity and the child. There are several products available such as teething rings to chew and numbing gels for their gums. Since they’re feeling the stress of pain, it helps to try to relax them with music and talking to them in a gentle voice. If you’re at all concerned about your child’s symptoms, contact your pediatrician or dentist to make sure they aren’t warning signs of something else.
You’ve probably been wiping your baby’s gummy smile with a wet cloth or gauze wrapped around your finger to clean after feeding and before bedtime—but now there’s teeth to consider! Brushing should begin when their teeth erupt through their gums.
How To Brush Toddler Teeth
- Brushing should begin when their teeth erupt through the gums
- Use a pea-size amount of fluoride-free baby toothpaste (fluoride free because they won’t master spitting at first)
- With a soft bristled toothbrush, use gentle back and forth strokes angled toward the gumline on the inside surfaces of their teeth
- Once you’ve brushed inside, continue to gently brush the outside surfaces with bristles angled up and down in relation to the gumline
- Finally, brush back and forth along the chewing surfaces
There are plenty of options out there for toothpaste, toothbrush, flavored floss, and more for parents to get overwhelmed by. But when teaching your toddler to take care of their teeth, you’ll probably want to make it as fun as possible to hold their interest (and your own!).
Tips for Toddlers Brushing Teeth
- Once they have enough dexterity to hold their brush—let them!
- Use fluoride-free toothpaste until they understand to spit it out and not swallow
- Make it fun! Let them pick out a cartoon character toothbrush or invest in one that plays music for 2 minutes (the amount of time they should spend brushing)
- Replace toothbrushes every 3 months and after an illness
- Show them the correct way to floss—handled flossers make it easier to control with little hands
- Be consistent—Make it routine to brush at least twice a day
- Floss daily and use a natural mouthwash daily as well
- Familiarize them with going to the dentist by reading them stories and keeping the experience positive and fun
Showing your toddler the proper dental care instills a healthy habit they can carry with them through adulthood. They’ll eventually become more independent and won’t have someone to remind them, so it’s good to start when that first front tooth peeks its way through. I hope you found these toddler dental care tips useful.