It’s important to care for your toddler’s oral care through their childhood and beyond. These good habits will set them up with healthy mouths, teeth, and gums for their lifetime.
How To Care For Your Toddler's Teeth
With a full set of teeth present from 2 years onward, caring for your toddler’s teeth and gums and helping them to establish a regular oral routine in those early years is vital in ensuring their long-term oral health.
From the age of 2 years onward, Spotlight Oral Care recommends the use of toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean children’s teeth and gums both morning and night. Toddlers (up to 3 years) should place only a smear of Fluoride-containing toothpaste on the toothbrush and should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to ensure gentle and thorough cleaning. We recommend our sustainable Bamboo Toothbrush which will gently cleanse toddler’s teeth and gums.
It’s important that you choose a toothpaste that contains Fluoride for your toddler. Although there has been a surge in natural toothpaste over the last decade, without the essential active ingredients necessary to fight tooth decay, these toothpastes will not protect your toddler’s teeth and gums properly.
Toddlers, children, and adult mouths are 50 times more absorbent than the skin, so every ingredient in your toddler’s toothpaste should be clean, effective, and non-toxic.
At Spotlight Oral Care, we use only the highest quality clean, active ingredients, and all of our oral care solutions are free from sulphates, microbeads, palm oils, parabens, triclosan, DEA, and SLS.
Children's toothpaste will have a slightly lower amount of Fluoride and a milder minty taste, which is ideal for them, as their taste buds are very sensitive. If you’re using an adult toothpaste for your toddler it will have a higher concentration of Fluoride but the taste will also be a lot stronger which is why a toothpaste designed specifically for toddlers, like our Spotlight Oral Care Toothpaste for Children, is a great option. Containing the active ingredient Fluoride, this toothpaste is clinically proven to reduce and prevent early decay. It comes in a mild mint flavor, strengthens enamel, and ensures gentle cleansing for kids.
You may have thought flossing was just for grown-ups, but the benefits for toddlers are immense. Flossing helps to get rid of food debris that gets caught between their teeth which can act as a breeding ground for bacteria and contributes to plaque buildup. Prevent cavities, bad breath, and gum disease with this essential ritual. Our Dental Floss is dipped in clean, active ingredients and made from 100% recycled plastic, making it an effective and safe oral care essential for toddlers and the planet. We recommend that toddlers floss once a day.
Your toddler should have a regular dental check-up routine. This will ensure any problems will be cared for professionally and will instill a solid oral care routine that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. Make sure your toddler visits a dentist every 6 months.
When it comes to preventing cavities and infections and guiding you, as a parent, through their specific oral care needs, dentists always know best. If you wait until your toddler is complaining of dental pain, they will generally end up having to receive far more invasive treatment which is more painful and expensive. Prevention is key.
How Long Should I Brush My Toddler's Teeth For?
As dentists, we recommend that toddler’s teeth are brushed for 2 minutes both morning and evening to ensure thorough cleaning.
When brushing, teach toddlers to aim the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line and, using a gentle circular motion. They should repeat this on the inside surfaces of the teeth and use a light back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
At Spotlight Oral Care, we are regularly asked if toddlers can use our Sonic Toothbrush. Our Bamboo Toothbrush range is perfect for children aged 2-6 years, while our specially designed Children’s Toothbrush is suitable for children aged 7 years onwards only.
Gums require brushing too. Gums are where plaque starts to grow, forming along the gum line and growing down to the tip of the tooth. That’s why it’s so important to teach toddlers to brush at an angle half on the gum and half of the tooth, to ensure proper plaque control.
Remind toddlers to never rinse their mouth out after brushing their teeth. The active ingredients in toothpaste should embed and dissolve into the tooth surface. Rinsing will wash away all of those active ingredients. Instead, teach toddlers to leave toothpaste in their mouth for extended protection against decay and gum disease.
When working oral care into your toddler’s everyday routine, it’s important to keep it consistent so it’s not a shock to them when it’s time to brush their teeth. This is key because if you skip it once or twice then they might think it’s optional and that’s when it can become challenging. We recommend brushing before they get dressed as it can get quite messy. Brushing before food first thing in the morning and last thing at night will ensure the active ingredients in the toothpaste embed in the teeth and work effectively.
How Can My Toddler's Diet Affect My Toddler's Teeth?
It’s important that your toddler enjoys a healthy diet to help protect and support their oral health. A high-sugar diet can lead to cavities and tooth decay which, at a young age, can cause irreparable damage to their smile.
When it comes to food and drinks that support your toddler’s oral health there are many healthy options to choose from.
Vitamin C helps to kill bacteria in the mouth and also promotes a healthy supply of collagen to the gums. Look to incorporate oranges, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes to ensure they gain plenty of Vitamin C in their diet.
Calcium intake is important to help build strong teeth, so ensure your child’s diet contains calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, and yogurts.
Fluoridated water for toddlers is really important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends water fluoridation as a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay with data showing that community water fluoridation can reduce tooth decay by 25%. Public water supplies contain Fluoride, but you can always check with your provider to be sure. Fluoride protects teeth from decay, and this is important for toddlers.
The oils found in nuts and seeds help to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to cavities. Look to include sunflower seeds, almonds, and cashews into their daily diet, provided they do not have a nut allergy and are supervised at all times to prevent and potential choking hazards.
Sugary foods and drinks are bad for toddlers’ teeth, so limiting junk food is key. Avoid sweet drinks including fruit juice and never add sugar, syrup, or anything sweet to your toddler’s foods. Sugar is also known as sucrose, glucose, fructose, and maltose so always check the labels of food to ensure there are no hidden sugars contained. Sticky foods that can lodge between toddlers’ teeth should also be avoided. A high sugar intake can result in cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to short and long-term oral health issues for your child, so sugar should be avoided at all times.
If you are concerned about your toddler’s diet, you can always consult your dentist to make sure they are eating foods that will support their oral health.