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Toddler Tooth Tips

Toothbrushing and Flossing

  • Begin cleaning the teeth as soon as they erupt.
  • Do NOT start a toothpaste with flouride until your child can spit unless
    instructed by a dentist.
    (why? – risk getting fluorosis = white and brown specks on the adult teeth).
  • Use toddler toothpaste that is fluoride free.
  • Begin flossing as soon as any 2 teeth touch – especially after eating chicken or fibrous foods – like apples or mangoes.
  • Parent supervise toothbrushing and flossing until your child is near the age of 8

Diet suggestions

  • Avoid juice and soda (contain lots of sugar and acid).
  • AAP Guidelines – no more than 4 ounces of sweet liquid per day for toddlers
  • Avoid frequent sipping on sweet liquids.
  • Avoid sticky or dried fruit or fruit snacks(roll-ups)
  • Avoid eating or drinking during the night. (decreased saliva at night)
  • Avoid sour candies- Skittles, Starbursts (acid burns holes in teeth!)

Fluoridated Water

  • Fluoride REMINERALIZES and protects the tooth from acid destruction!
  • Drink fluoridated bottled water if your water supply is NOT fluoridated.
  • Note BRITA water filters and filters attached to your faucet do NOT remove
    fluoride from the water.
  • Reverse osmosis filters(located under your sink) do remove fluoride.

Habits – Pacifiers, Thumbs,Fingers

  • American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pacifier use in the first year of
    life to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS)
    ( – SIDS Policy Statement).
  • Goal is to encourage the cessation of digit sucking habits by age 5 before
    Permanent teeth begin to erupt to avoid crossbites or protrusive incisors
  • Use positive reinforcement to help stop the habit.

ECC = Early Childhood Caries (CDC term for tooth decay)
Direct causes of DEMINERALIZATION (cavities)

  • FREQUENT juice and/or snacks
  • sweet liquids (juice, soda) in a sippy cup or bottle
  • sticky foods(raisins, gummies – even gummy vitamins)
  • liquid medicine – contains 50% sugar
  • GE Reflux – stomach acid on the teeth

Factors that contribute to DEMINERALIZATION (cavities)

  • parent with cavity history
  • tight or crowded teeth
  • tooth defects*(soft or groovy teeth)*
  • medical conditions – congenital heart disease, asthma
  • inconsistent oral hygiene
  • tight lips – contribute to food holding and make toothbrushing
  • inability to use tongue to naturally clean teeth (tongue-tied)
  • food holder or slow swallower
  • xerostomia(dry mouth)

Dental radiographs-first x-rays maybe needed:

1. after the dentist can no longer see between the back baby molars – (average age 4)
2. after a cavity develops or a dental injury occurs

Mouth Trauma

  • Child proof your home – remove sharp corners(coffee tables)
  • Frenum tear (skin under upper lip) – bleeds a lot! Keep head above heart
    and put washcloth over tear to stop bleeding. Rarely needs stitches.
  • Concussion injury ( bumped tooth ) Tooth may turn yellow or dark gray.
    Watch for abscess formation if tooth is dark.
  • Luxation (pushed forward or backward) reposition tooth ASAP!
  • Intrusion ( pushed into gum ) – allow to re-erupt.
  • Avulsion ( tooth knocked out ) – locate tooth. Do NOT replant a baby tooth