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Ireland

Expert Q&A:
How can I care for my toddler's teeth?

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Question


I am concerned about dental care. My 20-month-old daughter has almost a full mouth of teeth and I can't get her to brush, nor will she let me near her mouth with either a toothbrush or a cloth. Is it too soon? If not, what do you suggest?

Answer


Dentists recommend cleaning children's teeth as soon as they have erupted enough to be wiped. It is very important to brush or wipe them at least once a day, preferably at bedtime. Use a soft nylon-bristle brush or a clean cloth with a very small amount of toothpaste. Many toddlers do resist activities such as teeth brushing primarily because they want control of what's happening to them. Be a good role model; show her how you brush every day. Make it a pleasurable activity by singing a song before you start or choosing a toothbrush with a character like Mickey Mouse on it. Many parents will allow the child to do it themselves once a day, and then before bedtime the parent does it; or let the child do it first, and then you do a second round. There are some children's books that talk about going to the dentist and taking care of your teeth - often repeating such stories will make the child more interested. Good luck!
 

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