I don’t know about you, but when I began brushing my infant’s gums and teeth…wow, was it a battle! (Strangely enough, his papa was able to distract and play and make this quite a fun moment. Hmm.) When it’s hard to engage the little one, and a small battle follows, it can certainly be discouraging. Not just for him, but for you as the caregiver as well. All that to say, we persist! Yes? We want our little people to have beautiful pearly whites to last them their lifetime, so of course we push on. To help us help them (and their teeth), we have a little list of some top To Do’s in the dental hygiene department. Let’s start em young, and keep em brushin!
Make it fun! I know for me and my mommy tendencies, when evening arrives, I’m a tired one just like my little fella. I don’t always feel like more playing is in the cards, but this can actually be a sweet connecting time that includes some singing or playing a favorite song during brushing time. For my husband, he is the loud, boisterous type, so he pulls out his “Whoa!! Where ARE your teeth?! Let’s get em..and he proceeds to sing a “brusha brusha brusha” type song as they giggle. I can agree, pulling out some more silly time in the brushing department certainly is a winner. It makes the time go by faster and distracts our tiny one from remembering she is not a fan of brushing her teeth.
Brush together. Our kids are sharp and tend not to miss a beat. If we’re not brushing our teeth, why would they want to poke that long prickly thing in their mouth?? That’s silly. So, let’s buddy up and spend some time chatting about what we’re doing, showing our little how we brush the back, say “cheese!” together to get the front, etc. It’s even kinda fun to let them help with your teeth. My guy loves the chance to “help mama” so here is one more opportunity!
Keep an eye on the snacks and drinks. I found a neat visual of a stop light that helps connect the dots between those RED LIGHT drinks (the ones we really should avoid) and the GREEN LIGHT ones (have plenty of!). Red lights are the sugar filled soda, the ones that are also dyed (maybe bright red or orange, you know the ones). While the green lights include water, seltzer water, and milk. When we know that our kiddos aren’t covering their teeth with excess sweet, color, etc, we can all rest a little easier that we are doing our part.
That rule of thumb we hear is “1st dentist visit by 1st year”. Starting early and keeping it consistent helps with those preventative steps, provides education, and introduces the dentist chair in a relaxed manner vs waiting until there’s a problem. Plus they get to wear the sunglasses, right? Our dentist is a pediatric dentist, so maybe the sunglasses are not universal, but there’s also the fun toothbrush, flavored paste, colorful walls, etc. The dentist doesn’t have to be a scary place to go, and by keeping our kids familiar with that routine, it’s less intimidating.
There’s gonna be bumps. There’s gonna be nights where she falls asleep before you can get her teeth brushed. It’s all okay. Let’s take it in stride, do it with a smile, and support our kids in keeping their smiles bright for years to come! One. Day. At. A. Time.