Good Dental Habits
Good dental habits are important, beginning as soon as your baby has teeth to brush. Nearly 60% of children get their first cavity by age 3. Many parents think this does not matter because children lose their baby teeth anyway. Dentists do not agree.
- If a child loses a baby tooth early because of decay or infection it will leave a gap. The permanent tooth has not come in.
- The remaining primary teeth shift to fill the gap.
- When the permanent tooth is ready to come in, the gap has narrowed and there is not room for the new tooth.
- This creates problems and requires costly dental work to fix.
- Your child’s teeth help him make sounds correctly as he is learning to talk.
- This makes it easier for you to understand what he is saying.
Remember that sugar is a big villain in the dental health of your child. The risk of cavities is greater the longer and more often teeth are exposed to sugar. Do not offer your child foods such as caramel, dried fruit and gum. These foods bathe the teeth in sugar for hours.
The Right Way to Brush
- In the beginning, brush his teeth once a day, usually at bedtime.
- Pick a soft, multi-tufted toothbrush.
- Use only a small amount of toothpaste.
- Tell him not to swallow the toothpaste. He probably will swallow a tiny bit.
- Be sure to brush each tooth thoroughly, inside and out.
- Give him his own toothbrush. Never share toothbrushes. This is how cavity causing germs are spread from one person to another.
- Be sure to make yearly dental check ups.
Most parents cannot wait for their child to be toilet trained. You dream of the money you will save once you no longer have to buy diapers. And then there is the mess. No more little messy bottoms. All or most of the mess goes directly into the toilet.
If you push your child to use the toilet before he is ready it can delay the training. Studies show that children who begin training before 18 months are often not completely trained until after age 4. Children who begin training at about 2 are usually trained by their 3 birthday. As in all other things with children you must be patient!
How Do You Know When it’s Time?
Only your child can tell you when she is ready to start toilet training. Here is the way it usually happens:
- Let your child see same-sex parent using the bathroom.
- Ask if she wants to try using the bathroom.
- If the answer is yes, buy her a child-sized potty. Let her sit on it fully dressed while you tell her what it is for and how to use it.
- Let her practice just sitting on the potty fully dressed. Once she is comfortable doing this you can ask her to try it without her diaper.
- Make sure both her feet are firmly on the ground. This is necessary for a proper bowel movement.
- Once she is used to this, it is time to try a bowel movement. It is easy to feel the need for a bowel movement than the need for urinating.
- The next time she has a bowel movement in a diaper or training pants, change her at the potty, dropping the contents inside. Make a big deal out of the fact that this is where the bowel movement actually goes.
- Once she gets used to seeing this, she will be more interested in starting her bowel movement while sitting there.
- Never show anger over mistakes.
- Praise every effort, no matter how small.
- Switch to training pants once she is using the potty regularly.
- Keep the training as natural as you can. Do not make a scary.
It is perfectly normal for children to continue having “accidents” while potty training. Accidents usually happen during naps or nighttime. Accidents may also happen when a child is playing. Ask your child to use the potty just before going to sleep and after waking up. Talk to your child’s doctor if nighttime wetting remains a problem more than a year after daytime training is complete.
—- from First5 Advice for New Parents