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.
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:
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:
Caring for your baby's teeth:-
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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