Caring for your toddler's teeth - Canpol's Mums advise - Canpol

Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.

Caring for your toddler's teeth

Why is it important to take care of milk teeth?

Although milk teeth will someday be substituted by permanent teeth, it's important to take care of them from the moment when they start emerging in your baby's mouth. They will stay there for a long time - they will fall out only between six and twelve years. Proper milk teeth care guarantees healthy permanent teeth in the future. The appearance of first small teeth is very important, as they enable biting and chewing as well as correct speech. If they fall out too soon, the child can have problems with eating and might have to wear dental braces in order to adjust his bite to future permanent teeth. Inflammations of milk teeth have a negative effect on the condition of permanent teeth.

How to take care of baby's teeth?

Before your child even develops milk teeth, you should clean his gums with sterile gauze moistened with boiled water. It's also good to accustom your baby to a toothbrush, by letting him play with it for a while and allowing him to put it in his mouth. Start cleaning his teeth as soon as his first tooth erupts. Do it regularly in the morning and in the evening. You can encourage an older child to participate in cleaning his teeth, but it is you who should always make sure that the teeth are clean. First, buy a gum massager and a finger toothbrush (first baby toothbrush). When your child grows, you can start using a toothbrush suitable for your child's current stage of development. Use only special children's toothpaste - adult toothpaste can irritate your baby's stomach when swallowed. Don't press the toothbrush too hard when cleaning the baby's teeth. It can damage the enamel or cause it to wear away. Apply gentle and steady pressure to the brush. Start from the outer surfaces of upper back teeth. Brush them with circular motion moving towards the front. Then move to the inner surfaces of upper teeth, holding the brush in vertical position, and brush off the debris from the fissures of the teeth. Next, do the same with lower teeth. Never brush your baby's teeth with the left to right movement - it destroys the enamel. Remember to always brush your baby's teeth without lifting the gingival (gum) pockets - you should always brush with movements going from the gum to the tooth. In order to prevent defects and caries, minimalise the amount of sugar in your child's menu. Instead of buying chocolate bars, give him an apple, and substitute sugary drinks with water or diluted fruit juice without added sugar. Teething babies are often so irritated because of their aching gums that they won't let anybody clean their teeth with a brush. In such situations, I recommend using sterile gauze moistened with boiled water.

How can I encourage my child to brushing teeth?

In the beginning, your toddler might be a fierce opponent of brushing teeth. In order to avoid it, try proven methods:
- Take your child to the shop with you and let him pick his own toothbrush. It's the first step to success.
- Children like to imitate their parents. When you go to the bathroom, say to your toddler: "and now we're going to brush our teeth". Clean your teeth first, making funny faces and having fun with your child. It will encourage him to cleaning his teeth later on.
- If your baby frets about the duration of brushing his teeth, keep repeating "there's still so much food left to clean" while looking into your toddler's mouth.
- Children like experiments, especially when they can participate in them. Treat brushing teeth as an experiment: set a mirror so that the toddler can see his face when he's cleaning his teeth.
- Don't forget to praise your child after every cleaning for being so patient and behaving so well, and compliment his teeth on being so white and shining. Compliments work much better than forcement.

Małgorzata

Mum of 21 year old Rafał and 14 year old Adrianna, 11 years of professional experience

dr Aleksandra Łada

Clinical Neuro-speech Therapist
- consulting

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