Friday, January 8, 2010

toothbrushing tips

One thing I never got was the whole oral hygiene craziness. I doubt our parents were wiping our newborn gums. You read about it in Parenting magazines. You know, you're supposed to be wiping down the infants gums twice a day, then start brushing the minute a tooth shows up. Did anyone actually do this? I admit, we tried brushing her teeth, and she didn't like it so we continued our half-hearted attempts. (Early toddler-around 15 months.) I remember reading so many different opinions. "Don't force it..."
I knew this was important, but wasn't sure what to do. I remember my pediatrician saying, "It's that important. You need to make her do it. After a few days she won't fight anymore."
So that's what we did. The first few times was a team effort. She would open her mouth a little, and Dad helped to hold it open. It was brief, but got the job done. Within 2 days, she understood that we would hold firm and this was going to happen. We never had a tantrum again. Now, that's not to say we didn't get protests on occasion... Her teeth are spaced pretty far apart, and we haven't gotten into flossing yet... One more thing to feel guilty about!

Here are some Mommy tips to make it a little easier. (Thanks to my ECFE mom group for these!)
1) Keep a brush in the bathtub. She might go for it with her nightly bath.
2) Have two different brushes. Let him pick, "Spiderman or Diego tonight?"
3) Let him do it first, then you "double check," praising his efforts
4) Let your young toddler hold one brush while you brush with the other.
5) Have them make animal noises. Open mouth might be a tiger "Roar!" clenched teeth maybe a monkey, "ee, eee, eeee." Make it a game.

**One of the most important factors with the increasing cavities kids are getting these days is the frequency of meals and snacks. Kids who graze much of the day have more exposures to food and the bacteria that make cavities love to have frequent meals themselves. Even if it's not candy– say just pretzels or crackers– cavities will ensue.

Keep your kids on a schedule of eating every 2-4 hours, and only water in between!

Did any of you do the recommended dental hygiene, starting with regular gum-wiping? Did you do it with all your kids, or just the first one? :)
Do any of you floss with your preschooler?

1 comment:

  1. They both love to floss, but I guess it's because they still want to imitate whatever I'm doing. They also (even Lucas) like the brushes that flash when you push on them, or the electric ones.