Whilst tooth-care started when your baby’s first tooth broke through with gentle brushing, now that your little one is a toddler it is time to step-up the dental routine to set good habits for life. Your toddler will be wanting to show independence and you can encourage this with tooth brushing games but it is important that you are still in charge of the tooth-brushing at this stage and until your toddler is between five and eight when their motor skills are more developed to handle brushing solo.
Tips for toddler tooth-brushing
- Brush twice daily at least; in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after any bed-time snack or drink (except water).
- Brushing should ideally be for two minutes at a time; you can buy a timer for this which is fun or your child, or try singing a favorite song or rhyme, whatever distracts your toddler and makes brushing more fun.
- If your toddler is reluctant to let you brush or help brush their teeth try letting them choose their own toothbrush; there are many colorful options with children’s characters to interest and charm them into being more willing.
- You should replace a toothbrush every 12 to 16 weeks for good hygiene.
- Use a training toothpaste recommended by your paediatrician or dentist and do not let your child swallow toothpaste. By the age of two you can teach your little one to rinse and spit (which toddlers usually very much enjoy!).
- Use a mirror to show your toddler how to properly clean their teeth working on each tooth at a time and paying attention to gently brushing gums and tongue also.
- Once teeth are through standing side by side you can help your toddler to floss between the teeth; again as long as you are patient and gentle toddlers often enjoy the process; their little fingers may not be the most effective at getting the job done but with your assistance they will be building good habits for life.
Your toddler may be reluctant to enter into the spirit of the tooth-care routine initially but with your patience they will begin to associate the process with fun and enjoy the one on one attention and learning the independence of keeping their teeth healthy and clean.