Parents of infants and toddlers may not be thinking about their child’s smile as a young adult, but babyhood is the time to start planning for that gorgeous smile.

1.) Brushing is crucial. When your baby’s teeth appear, brush twice a day with an infant toothbrush. Always brush before bedtime and then only give your child water until the next morning.

2.) Start flossing when two of his teeth touch each other.

3.) Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle of juice, formula, or milk. That can cause tooth decay. If you must give your child a bottle to take to bed, make sure it contains only water.

4.) If you let your child drink juice or sugary drinks, give them at a meal. Between meals, the sippy cup or bottle should only contain water.

5.) Watch out for mouth breathing or snoring in your child. Many times this is caused by allergies. A major class of allergens for children are dairy products.  Dairy includes milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream. Other major allergens include eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. If you see signs of allergies in your child, begin your search for the source by eliminating the dairy.

6.) Other causes of snoring may be obesity in the child or smoking by an adult in your home.

7.) Avoid any unusual pressure on your child’s growing gums to avoid crooked teeth. Sucking thumbs, pacifiers, or bottle feeding longer than normal can cause your baby’s teeth and jaws to grow out of shape.

If your toddler has some unhealthy habits, you may want to spend a week helping them eliminate those habits. I know if may seem like waging a battle you don’t really want to face, but helping your toddler grow up with healthy teeth, and in turn, a beautiful smile, will be so worth it.

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