Parenting young children is one of the most complicated tasks one may embark on. One of the most challenging tasks is getting your little one to brush their teeth. They hate it! They spit, cry, and sometimes vomit and at the same time completely refuse to open their mouth and let you brush their teeth. This can be very frustrating for a parent. Below are few tips that may help you navigate this challenging task. Some of the tips are non-scientific and are based on my experience with my daughter who is now four years old.
Tip 1 - Brushing teeth should commence when the first tooth appears in the mouth. This is usually at 6 months of age; the front teeth appear first. You may start using moist soft cloth to just wipe the front teeth. Use the smallest kids’ toothbrush you can find, brush with plain water and no toothpaste. Once they can now tolerate the toothbrush in their mouth, you can now introduce toothpaste, but it must be one for children of their age, and only a small amount dispensed.
Tip 2 - Kids tend to chew the toothbrush, resulting in it getting worn quickly, and that can hurt their gums. Replace the toothbrush frequently. Don’t be surprised if you have to replace it every month!
Tip 3 - Brush your teeth in presence of your child. The more they see you do it, they will warm up to the idea with time. My wife and I will brush our teeth at the same time while our daughter is watching. She is now four and whenever she brushes her teeth one of us is present brushing at the same time with her.
Tip 4 - Let them take control! Once they have warmed up to the idea of brushing and can tolerate a toothbrush in their mouth, they will want to do it themselves. Just let them do it and give praise as much as you can. Once they have finished, you can now ask them if you can help them finish off. Pay more attention on the sides and biting surface of the back teeth.
Tip 5 - Once brushing has been completed, if you are using toothpaste at this stage, no rinsing with water because we want fluoride from the toothpaste to stay on their teeth. What you can do is wash and rinse the toothbrush, and then brush again. This will help in removing excess tooth paste foam.
Tip 6 - Get the round head electric toothbrush for kids. This brings more fun to brushing plus removes more plaque compared to manual ones. Might be better to introduce electric toothbrush when they are at least 3 years of age. At this age they will have a better understanding of brushing and hopefully won’t be chewing on it.
Tip 7 - kids tend to cry at night, and it is common for them for find comfort and sleep with a nursing bottle. The contents of the bottle could be formula or fruit juice. When you child sleeps with the bottle in their mouth this can lead to rapid decay of teeth. Better not to allow this to happen, dealing with decay on a young child is heart breaking for all involved.