5 things I did not know about toddler’s teeth

I recently brought Vera for her routine dental check-up. This was her second time visiting a dentist, but her first visit to this particular dentist called Dr Tay. (We decided to change because we found the first one a bit on the expensive side.)

Through the process, I found out some interesting tidbits about teeth and thought I would share them with you.


1) Don’t rush to switch to fluoride toothpaste for toddlers

Why? Fluoride causes fluorosis when swallowed, which leads to the discolouration of adult teeth.

So this dentist advised to wait till your child is more mature, closer to 4 years old or even above, as they need to be able to gargle properly (they should be able to swish water around the mouth) and spit out the toothpaste.

2) Pacifier is better than thumb

Why? Simply because the thumb is harder to wean off than a pacifier, and may actually cause the teeth to shift out of alignment if the frequency and extent of thumb-sucking is high. (In this dentist’s opinion at least.)

3) Gaps between baby teeth are good

As adult teeth are bigger than baby teeth, they will fill up more space than when the baby teeth were around. So if your child has gaps between his teeth now, don’t fret, it’s actually a good thing.

Vera actually has very little space between her teeth now, which looks good but actually means that the chances of having adult teeth that are overcrowded are high.

Read more: All about toddler teeth

4) You should floss your toddler’s teeth

This is something that most of us know we should do, but procrastinate. How many of us faithfully floss every day anyway? (At least, I know I struggle with that.)

But there are definitely benefits of starting to floss when young. First, you build a good habit for your child. Second, it gets rid of the icky stuff that hides between the teeth, which leads to better hygiene and less plaque/cavaries.

All we need to do is lie them down facing up, use a thread of normal floss and gently go in and out between their teeth. For starters, we don’t need to use any zig-zag action, nor do we need to go too deep beneath the gum-line.

5) Get rid of plaque using soft cloth

Vera has a yellowish stain on one of her front teeth, and initially we were quite worried that it was caries. Thankfully, it turned out to be a stubborn layer of plaque. The dentist advised us to use a clean cloth and rub against the tooth enamel area often. This is more effective and less abrasive than using a brush to brush against her tooth.

He also asked us to make sure that her teeth has a shiny surface after brushing.

By the way, I must say I really like this dentist. He’s everything a mum would want in her child’s dentist.

  • He’s gentle (this is top top top priority. Everything else falls flat if this first criteria is not met.)
  • He’s good with children (this comes a very close second.)
  • He’s thorough and detailed (he took the time to explain everything he was doing, what he was looking for, and what I should do on a daily basis with Vera)

Granted, his clinic occupies only a small space, and doesn’t boast added frills such as a dedicated TV for distracting the children while he works on their teeth. (There is a TV showing cartoons at the reception area though.) But I guess this is why his prices are very reasonable too.

I’m not advertising for him (and I’m not even sure he wants to be publicised given his rather long booking schedule), so I won’t be sharing his details publicly on this post. But if you’re really really keen to try him out, drop me an email to ask okay?

What have you learnt about caring for your child’s teeth?


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