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Friday Finds: Brushing & Flossing Your Toddler’s Teeth

We just got back from Caroline’s 2 year appointment at the dentist. This is her second time going to the dentist. It is recommended to start as soon as your child gets teeth. This recommendation is based on 2 things: getting your child comfortable with going, and getting parents up to speed and knowledgeable. Our appointment today went perfectly! Caroline was calm, listened well to instructions, and was even excited and curious. She was polite, and answering questions. It went as smoothly as it could have gone, and I was so proud of her. The dentist and the staff were pleased and impressed as well. They were also thrilled that we were doing some necessary things at this age:

1. Brushing twice a day (helps prevent tooth decay)

2. Teaching our daughter how to spit (can switch to fluoride toothpaste once this is achieved and will prevent tooth decay) We are making this switch now!

3. No longer using bottles/pacifiers and not allowing thumb sucking (can cause speech and dental problems)

4. Not giving milk after we’ve brushed her teeth in the evenings (can cause tooth decay)

5. Not allowing her to sip on milk all day long (can cause tooth decay)

6. Flossing her teeth (helps prevent tooth decay)

7. Allowing her to practice brushing her own teeth (promotes good hygiene)

8. Standing behind her to brush her teeth (promotes good technique)

9. Giving vitamins that are NOT gummy vitamins (can cause tooth decay)

10. We use straw cups, miracle 360 cups, or open cups and avoid sippy cups (sippy cups can cause speech and dental problems)

The above recommendations are so important to implement by the age of 2. Really, they should be, and can be, implemented long before. We had started all of these practices by the time she’d cut her first tooth.

In addition to the above recommendations, I think it is so essential to get your child excited about brushing and flossing their teeth. Something as simple as fun characters on their toothbrush can have them running for the bathroom to start brushing! I talk a lot about providing choices to promote good behavior. A simple choice to help give your toddler ownership, is letting them pick out their floss stick before bed. Our daughter gets so excited about picking the color. Oddly enough, she tends to finish all of one color floss stick before she moves on to the next color! Here are some of the items we use:

Caroline’s Favorite Book!

Getting your child excited about going to the dentist is often another challenge. I think it is important to talk about what they should expect ahead of time. A simple way to do this is with books. There are some great books about going to the dentist. In fact, one of Caroline’s favorite books is about going to the dentist. She’s been reading it for over a year. When I went to talk about her actual appointment this morning, she knew exactly what I was talking about. When we got there, instead of being scared or nervous, she was excited to see the things that she’d read about in her book!

What to expect at the 2 year appointment:

I was allowed to sit with Caroline in the chair at this age.

– Cleaning- At this appointment they actually scraped at her teeth to remove tartar/stains. They also used the suction tool! They had Caroline brush her own teeth and watched her to make sure she was making progress on this at home.

– Polishing- They used the polishing brush on her teeth as well.

– Inspection- They got out the mirror tool and looked at her teeth.

– Parent Discussion- They asked all sorts of questions and had general discussions with me about all of the above listed recommendations.

– Fluoride Treatment- At the end of the appointment, they put a fluoride treatment on Caroline’s teeth and told us not to brush her teeth this evening.

We’ll be back in another 6 months for a regular check up!

Other Posts of Interest:

The Amazing Zoli Teething Stick

We Finally Got Around to Teething

First Dentist Appointment- What to Expect

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