You’re probably well into the swing of brushing your baby’s teeth. But have you suddenly found yourself chasing a nekkid toddler down the hallway, yelling like a fishwife to ‘come back and brushhhhh yerrrrr teethhhhh?’. We all know it's important to keep our gnashers in good nick but how do you wrestle your toddler into doing it?
Let’s start with the tooth brushing basics
You should start brushing when you spot their first tooth (so you’re probably an expert by now). Twice a day, guided by you for around 2 minutes using a decent quality toothpaste with fluoride. You only need a teeny smear of toothpaste at this point and don’t let them eat any of it.
3-6 years old?
Same routine, twice a day for 2 minutes using a good fluoride toothpaste, always make sure you give those teeth a go over before bed. It’s a good idea that you still supervise at this age, especially as they only need to use a teeny blob of toothpaste. You don’t need to rinse after brushing, let the fluoride do its work.
Top tips for tempting toddler toothbrushing
- Yes, it’s a ‘ohhh it’s so boring mum’ moment but you can still make it fun. Let them choose their own fun toothbrush and toothpaste (if you’re not sure what’s best ask your dentist or health visitor). Get a timer so you can stick to the two minutes and (if it works) then brush your teeth together.
- You’re the tooth guide, hold their hand when they brush so they know where to go and use a mirror so they can see their own teeth and the tricky areas they need to get into.
- A trip to the dentist is free for kids. When their first teeth pop through book a appointment so they know it’s nothing scary. Get your regular visit sorted and take their advice, they can help prevent problems in the future.
The number one thing you can do to help your toddler’s teeth (apart from good dental hygiene and brushing) is to cut out sugar, so reduce (or ditch) sugary drinks, sweets, and biscuits and go for savoury snacks instead. It’s also a good idea to drop bottles after 18 months and go for a cup or beaker.
Most toddlers have their full set of baby (milk) teeth by the time they turn 3. But don’t worry if it takes a bit longer or they come sooner. If you have any concerns chat to your dentist, health visitor or GP.
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