Even though toddlers will have lost all their baby teeth by age 13, good dental health is important for guiding permanent teeth into proper position. Also, when children have healthy teeth and gums, it aids in eating, speaking, and self-esteem.

Toddlers that eat too many sugary and sticky foods can develop cavities that may result in early tooth loss which can affect the way their permanent teeth will develop. Early dental hygiene practices can prevent tooth loss and establish a lifetime of good dental health.

Preventing Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Cavities can start developing in toddlers as young as 6 months old. The culprits can be bacteria that is not washed from the mouth, along with too many sweets and sugary snacks. This includes beverages such as milk and juice, and even baby formula that is left to sit in a toddler’s mouth overnight.

The best way to prevent early childhood tooth decay is to brush your child’s teeth at night, before bed. Older children should also brush in the morning, while all children should clean their mouth after eating sweets.

Use only a smear of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-head toothbrush to clean your toddler’s teeth. With babies that are still forming teeth, you can wipe their gums with a clean, wet face cloth.

When to Start Dental Health in Toddlers

Partner with a pediatric dentist that will guide you and toddler’s dental health until age 6. This is important when you consider how many items a toddler will put in their mouth by this age. Bacterial can build up in the mouth when transferred from the child’s hands, toys, and household furnishings. For this reason, you should clean and check your child’s teeth every night or morning.

Start brushing your baby’s teeth at 18 months with a baby toothbrush and a child-approved toothpaste. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle in their mouth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and choking. At the age of 3 years old your child should have a full set of baby teeth. You may increase the amount of toothpaste used to a small dab and teach the child to spit out the remainder without rinsing.

Your child should start seeing a pediatric dentist around 6 months of age – or whenever their first teeth start to appear.