Our little guy just turned 3 this past December, and I think technically we were a little late getting him to his first dentist appointment, but he’s a little on the iffy side with strangers, and after a successful haircut I thought that the dentist might officially be a go. So, I set him up with an appointment at our local pediatric dentist and of course he had an awesome checkup! Today I wanted to share my tips for getting your little ones off on the right foot for dental health.
Brush, brush, brush!
As soon as our little dude started getting teeth we were brushing! We started off with some children’s toothpaste and a soft toothbrush with his favorite character to get him excited about the process. By doing this we set him up from day one and tooth brushing has never been a struggle.
A few tips…
-Start off using the smallest amount of toothpaste possible- your little one won’t understand the concept of rinsing their mouth at first… make sure you get a baby toothpaste that does not require rinsing.
-Be as positive as possible, no matter what- you never want them to have a negative experience brushing. One time, after he had learned to rinse, our boy accidentally swallowed and my husband got frustrated which set off a lot of anxiety for our boy about brushing and it took a bit to get him back on track.
-Feel free to let your little one try brushing their own teeth, they’ll likely want to, but make sure you follow up and make sure they get a good brushing.
Avoid the juice!
I am not totally anti-juice, but any doctor or dentist will tell you kids don’t need it- at all. We typically fill our boy’s sippy cups up 3/4 of the way with water and add a splash of juice for some flavor and he likes this really well. He gets that in his first cup of the day and then water the rest of the day. I add ice because he thinks this makes drinking water fun. Toddler logic, right?
Lose the bottle/pacifier
Make sure you are ditching these items at the appropriate times recommended by your pediatrician- overuse can cause early, unnecessary dental problems for your little one. Our little guy never really took to pacifiers (our baby hasn’t either, hallelujah!) and he was off the bottle at 1 year old and starting with sippy cups. Your doctor or dentist can give you the best time for your family to transition away from these.
Pick a Pediatric Dentist!
We started our guy off with a pediatric dentist. The building, waiting rooms, and exam rooms are colorful and fun, and the staff is trained to deal with little ones who may have anxiety about being at the dentist. Our office is so great- they explained everything they were doing to my son and frequently checked in with him to make sure he was feeling okay. I feel like this is key to avoiding them becoming anxious about the situation.
Get Dental Insurance!
Even a simple check up and cleaning at the dentist costs money. However, with a family or more serious dental issues, the costs can quickly multiply. That’s where dental insurance is beneficial. A dental insurance plan from Guardian can help cover the cost of basic dental services as well as most costly procedures. Our little guy had no problems at this visit, but I’m definitely not going to be naive thinking we will never have issues. Dental insurance makes sure that the whole family keeps good dental health without tremendous costs for us.
Without regular cleanings, bacteria can build up and lead to decay, cavities, and eventually tooth loss. Regular dentist visits for the whole family are so important and essential to preventing problems and catching problems before they cause more damage to your teeth!
These are the things we’ve done to get our little guy off on the right foot- dental health is so important and I want to be sure my kiddos are set up for success!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.