Oh! Gone are the days when your baby’s morning yawn meant bliss. Once your toddler starts eating foods similar to you, his beautiful set of teeth has the potential to have same problem like yours – plaque, decay and bad breath to name a few.
So, this is a good time to think about oral hygiene to ensure his pearly whites remain, well, pearly white! Though it is strongly suggested to massage a baby’s gum with a clean washcloth even when she does not have teeth, once she does sprout some, it is highly essential to pay attention to oral care.
10 Tips To Help Your Toddler Brush His Teeth
Easily said than done though. Many toddlers do not like the idea of an external object inserted into their mouth and moved around. They definitely do not like it when the same routine is repeated twice a day. So how do you do it without forcing or holding your child tight – resulting in him hating the experience even more?
These tips might help:
- Show by example: Make him see how you and your partner brush teeth daily in the morning and before bed. Explain to him why you do so. While he is watching, ask him if he wants to try too. Children love copying their parents, so chances are he might want to experiment with the brush. If he does, do not worry about getting it “right” the first time. Let him get used to the feel of toothbrush inside his mouth. Slowly, you can offer to help. “Here, mama will show you how to reach the corners”
- Make it part of the routine: The sooner your child realizes this is something that he needs to do daily, the faster he will get used to it. It is a good idea to make it part of an already established routine. For instance, you can brush his teeth when he is in the bath tub. This way it becomes part of the whole cleaning routine
- Skip toothpaste: While most of the toothpastes made for children are meant to be yummy, may be your child just does not like the feel of it inside the mouth. Experiment with and without toothpaste and pick up the option that child seems less irritable about
- Hold him right: No trapping the head forcibly between your body and hands and force-brushing please! You have to persuade him, not force him. Either let him stand on his own, preferably on a stool and looking at the mirror, or you put him on your lap and hold his head lightly
- Do it softly: No vigorous brushing to finish off quickly. Ease the brush into the mouth and softly brush all the teeth. Yes, he will bite the brush and bite it hard. Let him experiment. Yanking it out or scolding is not going to help. After he releases the bite on his own, continue brushing
- Ensure toothpaste does not stay in mouth: If you are using tooth pastes that can be swallowed, ensure your child drinks water after brushing. If a normal tooth paste is being used, ensure you ask him to to spit any later and tooth paste in the end and wash the mouth with water
- Turn it into a game: Buy couple of extra tooth brushes and let him brush the teddy bear’s teeth. Or, let him brush your teeth.
- Use rhymes: Singing “This is the way we brush our teeth” can up the fun element of brushing. Try to convert his favorite nursery rhymes to songs related to brushing teeth and make it a fun experience for him
- Let them pick the brush: Let your child pick his own tooth brush from the shop. That will help him feel more close to it. Encourage him to pick a brush that has a design he can relate to (e.g. car, teddy bear etc.)
- Take turns: Some kids want to do it all by themselves. While initially you should not challenge that, eventually you need to take partial control to ensure that the teeth is brushed thoroughly. You could take turns with your little one to ensure this. He will brush a bit, and then you say “it is my turn now” and you brush it for him a bit. Encourage him to brush the same way you are doing it
Your child should see the dentist by his first birthday, as lot of oral problems can be avoided by taking early preventive measures. If your child hates to brush, you need to be firm and let him know very clearly that he does not have a choice.