Top Tips for Toddler’s Teeth!

Judy More, Paediatric Dietitian and Registered Nutritionist

 

It can be all too easy for toddlers to eat and drink too much sugar. Keep them happy and healthy with the Infant & Toddler Forum’s top tips for toddler’s teeth!

Limit sugary food in their diet
New shocking government data has shown that a child in England has a tooth removed in hospital every 10 minutes because of tooth decay. Sweet foods are a key factor in tooth decay, as sugar is broken down to make acids, which then damage teeth! So be sure to limit sugary foods to four times a day at the most- that’s once at each meal and at no more than one snack per day.  Other top tips for toddler’s teeth focus on day to day habits: it is best for toddlers to follow a daily routine and avoid grazing on food, as it increases their chances of tooth decay.

Stick to water and milk as drinks
As a new Change 4 Life campaign points out, there can be more sugar in sweet drinks than you would think! With the introduction of the new sugar tax, which could add 24p per litre to the cost of drinks containing 8g or more of sugar, there’s even more reason to be sugar aware!

Toddlers need six to eight drinks a day, and it’s best if these are given in a cup or beaker. Giving sweet drinks in a bottle mean that your toddler’s teeth are covered in sugary fluids for a long time, which increase their chance of tooth decay!

Water is the best drink to offer your toddler, and milk is also a good alternative, which can be offered up to three times a day or less if your toddler also eats yogurt and cheese. From the age of one, toddlers can drink whole cow’s milk, which has more vitamin A than semi-skimmed and skimmed milk. Toddlers should only drink semi skimmed milk from the age of two at the earliest.

How to brush a toddler’s teeth

  • Routine: A good tooth brushing routine for your little one will ensure good future habits and should begin as soon as your baby’s teeth come in, when they should be brushed every day, in the morning and last thing before bed
  • Equipment: You can purchase small toothbrushes for toddlers, which have soft bristles and should be replaced every three months. These should also be used with a special toddler toothpaste, on a dry brush
  • Technique: Toddlers should be encouraged to brush their teeth themselves but should be supervised until the age of seven. If you need to brush your toddler’s teeth, it’s easiest to do this from behind. To help, why not place your toddler on your knee or in a high chair or pram?
  • Spit don’t rinse! Teach your toddler to ‘spit not rinse’ – rinsing with water after brushing washes off the fluoride from the toothpaste, which keeps teeth strong!

Judy More, Paediatric Dietitian and Registered Nutritionist

 

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Further Reading

  • Dr Gill Harris, Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist   Yesterday marked an exciting point in the history of the Infant and Toddler Forum! After fifteen years of supporting parents and professionals in early years’ nutrition and development, we are transitioning to become a Community Interest Company (CIC).
  • Atul Singhal, Professor of Paediatric Nutrition and Chair of the Infant & Toddler Forum   At the Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF), we are committed to giving every child the healthiest start in life. As an expert-led, not-for-profit organisation we have dedicated our work to early life nutrition, from pregnancy to pre-school, because we know that healthy eating habits established in childhood are more likely to last a lifetime.
  • Judy More, Paediatric Dietitian and Registered Nutritionist   As Christmas approaches it can be difficult to plan activities for toddlers! Between decorating, shopping and cooking it may be a challenge to find time to include fun active play with your little one. The Infant & Toddler Forum is here to help with our top tips for maintaining healthy, fun activities for your toddlers during the festive season!