Very few parents can say that they managed to brush their toddler’s teeth without any resistance. Only some parents can describe the process of brushing and cleaning their baby’s teeth as a smooth and an easy one. Most will call the procedure difficult and challenging. Nevertheless, dental hygiene isn’t something you can or should avoid for long. With every passing month/week, regular brushing becomes increasingly important. So, what should you do if your child refuses to let you brush his or her teeth?
Don’t give up! Below we put some recommendations for those parents who are finding the process challenging:
- As much as possible make sure your toddler isn’t tired when you are trying to cleaning his or her teeth (perhaps starting with tooth brushing and only then do bathing and PJs).
- Use whatever toothpaste your baby likes most — this may have more to do with what’s on the tube than in it.
- Make tooth brushing a game! Use your imagination:
- It can be brushing top (you) and bottom teeth (child) at the same time.
- While rinsing try to imitate the sounds of different animals.
- Have different color toothbrushes for your baby and parents, and let him or her choose which color/character will be used today.
- Sit with your child on the bathroom floor so he/she can see what you’re doing with the toothbrush and try to mimic it. Use a cup for rinsing and a bowl or the bathtub for spitting; each time your toddler puts the brush in his/her mouth, he/she earns the right to spit.
- Let him/her to hold your brush and clean your teeth with it while you do a thorough job on his. (Don’t share toothbrushes, though, because the bacteria that cause tooth decay can spread from your mouth to his.)
- Let your toddler climb up on a footstool, so he/she can see himself in the bathroom mirror. As baby stares at the reflection of the two of you, point to and count her/his teeth and yours. Then touch each tooth with the brush “to give it its share of toothpaste.”
- Always give words of encouragement as both of you finish brushing your teeth well: “ Go show Mommy your pretty teeth”, “Let’s call Grandpa and tell what a big girl you are”, “Show Grandma your pretty smile”, and so on.
Hope these tips will be helpful for you. Remember, that different children respond to different tactics, so you may need to experiment. Good luck!
If you have any questions regarding your child’s dental hygiene, please contact us at Kids Pediatric Dentistry. Doctor Lisi is ready to help!