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Dental Hygiene

How to treat Toddlers teeth?

02/08/2001

Question:

My daughter is 2, how old does she need to be for me to schedule an appt. with the dentist? I was told not until she is 3, is this true? If so, do you have any tips on how I should care for her teeth in the meantime?

Thanking you for your assistance in advance.

Answer:

Taking care of a toddler’s teeth consists of brushing for them at least 2 times/day but after the child attempts to brush on their own. Toddlers like the feeling of independence. Limiting the number of times they consume carbohydrates per day and using a fluoride toothpaste are also beneficial.

Pediatric dentists recommend that children should have an oral exam around the time of their first birthday. The dentist will thoroughly examine the child's teeth and provide helpful information about habits, diet and oral health care.

Young children do not have the dexterity to clean their teeth well, but it is good to have children develop proper toothcleaning habits. For this reason, toothcleaning for toddlers should be a "team" event with parents providing much help and direction. Choose a dentist who sees young children and s/he will instruct you on how to do this well.

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Response by:

Michele P Carr, RDH,  MA Michele P Carr, RDH, MA
Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene
Associate Professor of HS Nursing Quality & Research
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University

Dennis J McTigue, DDS Dennis J McTigue, DDS
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University