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Tags: teeth

Get into the Habit

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Health, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: brushing teeth, eating, exercise, hygiene, safety, sun, suncream, teeth, tips, toilet

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Teaching your toddler some basic rituals when it comes to everyday livinhg is a great and easy way to introduce some good (and advisable!) habits into their lives. The more they get used to following these simple rules, the easier it will be to keep them safe and actually introduce them to some good practice.

  1. Hands Please - Make sure you get into the habit of washing hands in certain situations: before eating, after playing outside, after going to the toilet and after stroking pets. Make it more fun by having nice smelly soap that the children can reach and use on their own if they are old enough. Make sure there's a step to reach the tap and a nice fresh towel to wipe clean.
  2. Going To The Toilet - Teach the little ones how to wipe their bottoms as soon as they start going to the toilet. If they practice how to do it properly on their own from the start they will get into the habit and keep doing it when they go to the toilet alone. Make sure you teach them how to flush and close the toilet lip safely. Use moist wipes to ensure they are fresh.
  3. Teeth - Make sure you get your child to wash their teeth twice a day and do yours at the same time too to show them that you do it as well. Supervise and do the washing, but also let them try too and have a brush about. Explain that good brushing means healthy teeth and no uncomfortable cavities!
  4. Food Fun - Try and keep to a healthy diet. Sweet things are allowed, of course, but keep them to a minimum and after having eaten the healthy foods. Create a food chart to ensure you eat five fresh fruits or vegetables each day. Encourage the children to pick which fruit to have at the supermarket. Eat the fruit and vegetables in different ways: cooked in stews, cooked an their own, raw, chopped into slices or sticks. Make sure you choose colourful vegetables with your meals and even try presenting in different ways. Could broccoli and carrot sticks be a forest? Explain that sweet things are fine in moderation but that is the vitamins, minerals, dairy products, carbohydrates and all good foods that help us grow, give us energy and have fun. And, of course, drink lots of water too!
  5. Keep the Family Moving - Explain that keeping active is a fabulous way to have fun, keep healthy and keep happy! Do walks or bike rides together, or go for swimming sessions as a family. Walk to school or nursery when you can and walk to the local shops too. Run about in local parks or open spaces or head to soft play centres to climb and run and swing about. Get a bike for your little one as early as you can and encourage them to ride. Dance about and sing songs too and be as active as you can.
  6. Sleep Time - Getting enough sleep is vital for you and your child so make sure you get into the habit of good and long nights sleep from an early age. Of course there are often troubles with sleeping, but do you best to get them to sleep alone and go back to sleep when they wake in the night. Stick to regular bed times, make sure they are warm enough (though, not too hot!), that they have teddies/comforters nearby, that the room is dark but not too dark to make it alarming if they wake.
  7. Be Safe - Teach them some basic safety requirements and they will be less likely to have accidents throughout their childhood. Show them how to climb stairs and come down safely. Show them how to get into chairs and get out again. And practise over and again to make sure they are confident and safe.
  8. Sunny Days - Always apply suncream as a matter of course and keep it handy throughout the day should you need to re-apply. Make it a part of your routine when leaving the house so it becomes normal to apply the cream with minimum fuss.

Sippy Cups or Drippy Cups?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Child Development, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: bottles, cups, development, drinks, non-spill, teeth

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It's so important for babies and toddlers to drink - we all know that, but what should they drink from?  An open cup, tilted cup, non-drip spout, bottle?  Does it really matter?  Surely in order to protect carpets and clothes, using a non-drip cup is absolutely fine.

There are so many cups and spouts to choose from that it's a bit bewildering and there seem to be growing concern from dentists regarding the spouts that our children are using.  Experts say that drinking from a cup should be encouraged from 6 months and bottles should not be used after a year.

Experts advise that non-spill cups should be avoided and that open cups should be sipped, or that cups with free flow spouts are better.  Teaching toddlers to drink from a cup can be messy, and time consuming, but it is best for them and their teeth.  Even breast fed babies can drink from an open cup held to their mouths.  This is a good idea if you wish to avoid nipple confusion.

Advantages of using a sippy cup:

  • Independence: the child feels independent and can hold with handles and drink alone
  • Hand-eye co-ordination: this improves with using the cup
  • Limits mess: spillages are less dramatic


  • Toddlers become dependent on using a spout and won't drink form anything else
  • Can impair growth of teeth
  • Can increase tooth decay if used with squashes or sugary drinks
  • There are many designs and choice can be confusing!
  • They can need lots of 'sucking' to get out any drink so can be hard work!

Your Baby's Teeth

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Health, Child Development , Tags: baby teeth, brushing, teeth

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When babies are born almost all of their teeth are already formed and remain hidden in the gums.  They begin to cut through when the baby is about 6 months but this can be earlier or later in some children.  All children develop at their own pace.

The first to come through tend to be the bottom two front teeth.  Then come the top four front teeth and the rest of the mouth then gradually fills up.  Most children have all their baby teeth by the age of three.

Do not be alarmed if the teeth have spaces between them.  As there is a difference in the size of the baby and adult teeth, there may be gaps.  The spaces make it easier to brush the teeth too.

Although baby teeth eventually fall out, they are important because:

  • They help the child eat and chew
  • They help the child speak correctly
  • They prepare for the adult teeth
  • They guide the adult teeth into position

Caring for your baby's teeth:-

  • Brush with a soft baby tooth brush twice a day
  • Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste specially designed for babies
  • Start by brushing the teeth yourself and then allow the child the chance to brush on their own; get into the habit of brushing twice a day

Dental Care for Babies and Toddlers

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Health, Preschool Children , Tags: brushing, fluoride, teeth, tooth care, toothbrush, toothpaste

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Babies teeth begin to emerge from around 6 months, and from this point on, their teeth require a lifetime of good care.  Tooth decay is caused by long term exposure of teeth to sugars and acid from food so brushing teeth after each meal and especially before bedtime becomes very important.  If you brush at this point, you will remove the sugars that remain after a feed or a meal.  Sugars are found naturally in most foods that we eat, including formula and breast milk.

You should start taking your children to the dentist from the age of two - make this a positive experience for your children by explaining that the dentist will look after your child's teeth and tell them how important good oral care is so that they make the dentist really proud.  Sing a song while you brush your children's teeth, this will make it fun, but more importantly will help them to brush for the required 2 - 3 minutes.  Tooth brushing timers are also available to help brush for the right duration.

Toddlers should use a small headed toothbrush with soft nylon bristles; children's toothbrushes will state an age suitability so make sure you have the right toothbrushes for your children.  Up to the age of 3, children should use a toothpaste with 1000ppm fluoride; after that their toothpaste should contain 1350 - 1500ppm of fluoride.  All toothpastes state their fluoride content so again, make sure you are using a  suitable toothpaste.  Discourage your child from swallowing the toothpaste during brushing because fluoride is toxic.


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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