Toddlers & Preschoolers
This is a good time in your child’s life to build habits that will protect the teeth and lay the foundation for future health. Teeth start to appear at about 6 months and continue until age 3. Tender gums are associated with each stage of tooth emergence, which can make your child irritable. It helps to rub the gums with your finger, a small cool spoon or a frozen teething ring that’s been placed in the freezer.
From a young age:
- Feed your child from all food groups and limit sugary foods or drinks
- After eating sugary or sticky foods like raisins, brush your child’s teeth, rinse the mouth with water or serve juicy fruits/vegetables to clean the teeth
- Don’t let your child constantly sip on sugary liquids, including milk and juice from sippy cups. Offer these liquids only at mealtimes.
- Brush twice a day and use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste, rather than swallow it. If your child doesn’t have the co-ordination necessary for proper toothbrushing, brush your child’s teeth first and then let him or her finish.
- Begin flossing when your child’s teeth are touching
- Change your child’s toothbrush every one to three months or immediately after an illness. Never share toothbrushes in your household.
- Let your child watch you brushing your teeth as often as possible. Children are wonderful imitators, and will learn from your habits.