What are your concerns?

Hard to understand

Or copy link


Ask Doctor for Free

Be the first to let Hello Doctor know your thoughts!

Toddler's Dental Health: The Importance of Oral Care

    Toddler's Dental Health: The Importance of Oral Care

    Taking care of a toddler’s dental health does not only promote healthy teeth and gums. In reality, it also helps the baby eat properly and talk clearly. When you promote dental care early on, the baby teeth will help ensure that the adult teeth are positioned properly.

    Additionally, some baby teeth are not replaced by adult teeth until they are near the adolescent age. Since they will have these baby teeth for many years, a toddler’s dental health is very important.

    Teeth Development

    One of the important things to know about a toddler’s dental health is teeth development. Parents need to understand that each baby is different. Hence, they may be getting their teeth at different times. Some babies will have their first tooth at just 3 months, while others will not have it until they are a year old.

    It is also important to understand that teeth will appear in any order. For most babies, however, the lower, central teeth will appear first. In general, all 20 baby teeth will be present by the time the baby is 36 months old.

    How to Promote Your Toddler’s Dental Health

    Parents need to remember that oral cleaning is required twice a day – once in the morning and again before bedtime. Regarding a toddler’s dental health, remember the important tips below:

    Always supervise your baby when you are feeding them

    Sometimes, it is very easy to leave the baby with a milk bottle, but do not do it. Leaving your toddler with a bottle is not only unhealthy, but it can also be dangerous.

    When a baby falls asleep with a bottle, milk residue will remain in their mouth. When this occurs often, it may cause tooth decay. Additionally, leaving them with a bottle of milk may increase the risk of choking or infection.

    It is important for your toddler’s dental health to always supervise them when they are eating. Remove them from the cot and hold them to ensure that everything is well.

    Aside from milk, water is best for toddlers

    It may be tempting to give toddlers sweet drinks, like fruit juices, but as much as possible, try to avoid these beverages. Aside from milk, toddlers should drink water throughout the day. Also, make them drink water in between milk feeding.

    Snacks are important for your toddler’s dental health

    While parents are eager to give children healthy meals, they might forget about snacks. Remember that healthy snacks are also important for gum and teeth health.

    Please understand that children do not have a preference for sweet foods. They only become accustomed to it if it is always given to them. For this reason, be sure to give them healthy snacks. Instead of ice cream and cake, let them snack on fruits.

    Important Nutrients for Toddlers: What They Need

    Do not forget to bring them to the dentist regularly

    Your baby should visit the dentist once they have their first tooth. This is because they can develop cavities. With or without teeth, you must bring your child to a dental clinic no later than their first birthday.

    Supervise them when they brush their teeth

    One important part of promoting your toddler’s dental health is having them brush their teeth. When brushing your toddler’s teeth, you do not need to use a lot of toothpaste.

    In fact, until they are 18 months old, parents should only use water on their toothbrush (unless the dentist has other instructions). At 18 months, they can use pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste unless the dentist recommends higher fluoride strength. Fluoride protects the teeth from tooth decay.

    Here are the steps to properly brush your toddler’s teeth:

    • Stand or sit behind your child so they will be guided.
    • Brush their teeth in front of the mirror, so you will be able to see their mouth.
    • Allow your child to rest their head on your body.
    • Cup their chin with your hand.
    • Pick up the toothbrush and angle the bristles toward your baby’s mouth.
    • Move the toothbrush in circles. Pay attention to both the inner and outer sides of the teeth and gums.
    • On the chewing surface of the teeth, brush back and forth.
    • Do not forget to brush your child’s tongue.
    • Remind your baby not to swallow the toothpaste.
    • Tell them to spit the toothpaste out. There is no need to rinse the mouth to allow the fluoride to coat their teeth.

    Toddler’s Dental Health: Importance of Oral Care

    While parents can make sure that their baby’s teeth and gums are healthy, it is better to instill in them proper oral care. To encourage them, you can do the following:

    • Ask your baby to choose their own toothbrush. Encourage them to pick using their favorite color or character. Do the same thing with their toothpaste.
    • Reward them for practicing good oral care. However, be careful with the rewards. Do not give them sugary snacks. Instead, offer reading them a story or to extend their playtime.
    • Teach them proper oral hygiene using fun activities, such as watching a show or reading a book.
    • When helping them brush their teeth, make it fun by playing their favorite music or singing a song. This will also help you time how long they brush their teeth.

    Brushing their teeth is one of the most important hygiene practices kids should learn.

    toddler's dental health

    Key Takeaways

    There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to your toddler’s dental health. You must think about proper brushing of teeth, providing them with healthy snacks, and making sure that they are doing proper oral care early on.

    One of the best tips in promoting toddler’s dental health is to lead by example. Toddlers will look and observe. If they see you taking care of your oral health, they will do it, too.

    Learn more about Parenting here.

    Looking for Parenting stories?

    Join the Parenting community and exchange stories with other moms and dads. Join Communities now!

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Picture of the authorbadge
    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated May 31, 2021
    Medically reviewed by John Paul Abrina, MD
    Next article: