Milestones for 3-5 Year Olds
- Children often assert their independence at this age and want to brush their own teeth. You can allow your child to brush by themselves first, but always brush after them to make sure the teeth are being cleaned properly, especially before bedtime. Try to make brushing a fun part of their nighttime routine. Sing songs, make brushing a game, use fun brushing books, apps, or videos if needed.
- Once your child learns to spit out the toothpaste you can increase the amount from a rice-grain size to a pea-sized amount. Spaces will become much tighter so flossing is now needed.
- To avoid early childhood cavities, establish set feeding times (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and don’t allow them to graze or snack constantly throughout the day. Children that eat too many sugary or simple carb-filled foods and liquids (including milk and juice), or those who are put to sleep with a sippy cup or bottle can develop cavities very rapidly.
- Avoid passing cavity-causing germs and other unhealthy germs by limiting behaviors where saliva is shared. This includes the sharing of utensils or cups with your child.
- If thumb or finger habits continue to this age there is a higher chance of bone structure changes requiring earlier orthodontic intervention. This can also lead to protruded (pushed out) front teeth which increases the risk of tooth damaging accidents.
- Children at this age are especially prone to dental accidents. Make sure they wear helmets when riding scooters and bikes, and put barriers on sharp corners and hard surfaces such as brick fireplaces, corners of coffee tables, and hard surfaces in bathtubs (i.e. faucets/side of tub).
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