Your toddler will need their baby teeth to stay healthy for several more years, and healthy baby teeth are essential for guiding the adult teeth into place. Unfortunately, a lot of little ones are already developing cavities and tooth decay by the time they are two or three! Here are some ways you can prevent tooth decay and protect your toddler's teeth.
Limit the Juice
You might assume juice is a good beverage choice for your child because it is natural and made from fruit. But it's really high in sugar, which feeds the oral bacteria that cause tooth decay. If your toddler sips juice all day, he or she is literally bathing the teeth in sugar. Try to only give juice at mealtimes so it's not in contact with the teeth for as long a period of time. Give your toddler water to drink during the day. Also, give juice in a cup with a straw instead of in a sippy cup. Sippy cups put the liquid into direct contact with the front teeth, whereas drinking through a straw deposits the liquid on the tongue behind the teeth.
Brush Teeth Right Before Bed
Toddlers are notorious for snacking. You might not always know when they grab a couple of crackers off the coffee table or get into a previously hidden bag of sweets. If you brush their teeth after dinner, and there are still a few hours until bedtime, there's a good chance they'll eat something and that then the sugar from that food will sit on their teeth all night. Prevent this conundrum by making toothbrushing the last thing you do before bed.
Help Them Brush
Your toddler should be learning to brush their teeth at this stage. However, counting on them to brush thoroughly is a mistake. They will probably miss a lot of areas, and that could lead to cavities. Have your child brush on their own for a few minutes, and then give their teeth a good once-over yourself to ensure the job has been done thoroughly.
Visit the Dentist
If you are not already taking your child to a dentist, such as one at Round Lake Dental Clinic, for regular checkups, now is the time to start. A thorough cleaning by the dental hygienist helps reduce the risk of decay. Plus, the dentist and hygienist will make sure that if your child does develop any cavities, they are caught early when they are small and easy to address.