All about your toddler’s oral health

As soon as your little one passes their first birthday, baby teeth will start making an appearance thick and fast. Your tot’s teething timeline will continue all the way into their second year, coming to an end when their top second molars (back teeth) come through.

This stage in your child’s development is a crucial chance to instil a strong brushing routine and build confidence around visiting the dentist. The more work you can put in now to form the foundations of good dental habits, the more likely they are to stick.

Winning the brushing battle

The bad news? Teething toddlers can be especially stubborn when it comes to brushing their teeth. The good news? Every parent’s been there. And, with a few simple changes, brushing can quickly become a much more fun and rewarding experience for the both of you.

While your little one won’t be ready to brush their own teeth unsupervised until the age of seven or eight, there are plenty of ways you can make them feel more independent in the meantime. Why not come up with brushing games to make teeth cleaning time more fun?

Tackling a thumb sucking habit

Thumb sucking is very common in under-fives. Comforting for little ones, it’s totally normal – but can cause damage to your child’s teeth if it becomes a prolonged habit. After the age of seven, when adult teeth appear, thumb sucking starts to affect the position of your child’s teeth and can create a gap or crossbite.

There are a few easy things you can do to curb the habit, from a reward chart, to talking to your dentist about a ‘habit breaker’ dental appliance.

The power of positive dental attitude

Regular check-ups aren’t just a good way for your dentist to keep an eye on your toddler’s rapidly blossoming smile.

Positive reinforcement is a fantastic tool to use at home too. Rewarding good behaviour, like brushing for two minutes, twice a day, will give your child more reason to keep it up.

A reward system like a sticker chart can be a great way to give them something to aim for.

The more positive experiences your little one starts to associate with coming into the practice, the better. So, plenty of encouragement and enthusiasm from you really can make visiting the dentist less scary.

Smart sugar swaps for tots

It’s only a matter of time before your little one starts to discover their sweet tooth. While there’s nothing wrong with a little sugar in moderation, swapping out sweet treats for low-sugar alternatives can dramatically cut down the chances of harmful cavities in the long run.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve teamed up with one of Bupa’s specialist dieticians to bring you a list of quick and easy sugar swaps. Check out our sugar swap blog for the full list of tasty alternatives, from brilliant breakfasts to low-sugar snacks.

Book your free NHS children’s check-up today

Find your nearest Bupa Dental Care using our practice finder below, to book your child in for their next check-up. Remember, six-monthly trips to the dentist are key for keeping your little one’s mouth happy and healthy.

Find your local NHS practice

Each stage of your child’s smile development is important for their long-term oral health. Our advice pages help you make the right decisions for your little one, from pregnancy to primary school.

Advice and inspiration for every stage of childhood

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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