As babies grow into toddlers, they often form opinions. Opinions about everything including having their teeth brushed! Having been through this twice now, I have found a few tricks that make the task simpler.
So here is a glimpse into my evening routine with my two little ladies:
Before bed, we brush and floss every night (because brushing before bed is the most important time!). Many people ask me if flossing is even necessary on children. I say ABSOLUTELY! For a couple of reasons, I am a huge advocate of starting the flossing routine with kids as early as you can:
- Flossing will help keep their gingiva (AKA gums) healthy by disturbing the plaque or bacterial biofilm between the teeth. There has been many times when the kids pull the flosser out of their mouth and say “mom, look, chicken” or “mom, carrot” and I know it was worth my time to get them to floss!
- Even though some youngsters have large gaps between their baby teeth which makes cleansing from saliva easy, the point of flossing for these kids is routine. If kids start flossing at an early age, it is part of their routine and they won’t know any different! In fact, there are nights when I’m exhausted and just want them to sleep now, but they remind mommy that they need to floss!
If parents are having a challenging time getting their child to brush, there is an abundance of plaque on the teeth, and/or many cavities have been diagnosed, an electric toothbrush may be a good option. They are kind of like a “toy” for kids, have a 2 minutes timer built-in, and effectively remove more plaque than a manual brush if they are being used properly. I would recommend rechargeable electric brushes for kids like Oral-B or Sonicare.
Here are a few tips for keeping your toddler low risk for cavities:
-Diet also plays an important role in cavity formation. If the diet has a lot of sugar in it, then the toddler will be at higher risk to get cavities. Actually, any carbohydrates and sugars can combine with germs in our mouth to create acid which can cause cavities. Sticky carbohydrates like gummy bears, fruit roll ups, caramels etc. are especially bad since they cannot be easily washed away. Hard cheese is an example of a good food for our teeth!
-Does your child drink juice, pop, and milk? If yes, eliminate the pop and juice. It can be given as a treat or on special occasions. Milk can be consumed at mealtime and water in between meals. No food or drinks should be consumed after brushing the teeth at night time.
-Does your child snack frequently? It is better for our teeth to eat a few meals a day opposed to several snacks or small meals throughout the day. This is because our mouths are more acidic for about 30 minutes after eating, meaning cavities can form more easily if we snack frequently.
I hope you have found this post helpful! Please feel free to contact me if you need further information. If I do not have an answer for you, I may know someone who does!
- Tooth Eruption, The Permanent Teeth. JADA, Vol. 137, Pg 127. January 2006
- Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist, 10th Edition by Ester M. Wilkins (2009).
- Kidshealth.org, Yamini Durani, (2015).
- Canadian Dental Association, www.cda-adc.ca/en/, (2016).
Nicole Sailes is a certified Hypnobabies Instructor with Full Circle Birth Collective. Learn more about Nicole here.