The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends small, soft-bristled brushes only, manual or powered. Toss brushes after three months.
When your child is 2 years old and able to spit, not swallow, start with a fluoridated toothpaste with an ADA approval stamp. It doesn’t matter which flavor or whether it’s marketed to kids or adults. “Any brand of toothpaste with an ADA seal is fi ne,” says Brian S. Martin, D.M.D., chief of the division of pediatric dentistry at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “The seal means that it’s been tested to have an efficacious amount of fluoride, which has proven to prevent tooth decay.”
Flossing is important for toddlers and is often overlooked. If teeth are touching, they need flossing! Floss your child’s teeth at night just before brushing. Experts recommend using narrow dental tape or plastic tooth flossers (to avoid getting bitten).
If your toddler drinks nonfluoridated water, your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements during the years of tooth development to protect against decay. Just be careful: Too much fluoride, say, from tablets and fluoridated water, can result in damage to tooth enamel.