Kids would always be kids: running around the house, chasing their siblings up and down the stairs and accidentally kicking the ball into the next door neighbor’s house. It is all fun and games, until it is time to brush their teeth. Most new parents have a hard time brushing their toddlers’ teeth. No amount of scolding would make these bubbly kids open their mouths for brushing. Some older kids would even place their brush under running water and come up to you with a wet brush, telling you that they have brushed when in actual fact they haven’t, just to avoid scolding. It is quite tough so to help, I put down 6 simple tips you could try at home:
- Role playing: Kids love role playing! You need to come to their level at all times. Start by brushing whilst your toddler is watching. Now, sit your child on your lap and allow him/her to brush your teeth for you and attempt to brush theirs afterwards. He or she would develop that trust in you when you both take turns to brush for each other. At the initial stages, it would seem a tad difficult but they would pick up on the 2nd or 3rd try; so do not lose hope.
- Get them a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character on it: Kids light up whenever they see their favorite cartoon. My nieces could stare at the TV for hours whenever they saw the cartoon “Frozen.” When I realized this, I got them Elsa and Anna characters from “Frozen” only to arrive home and return to the shop to buy only Elsa(who was the main character) for both of them. It was a long trip, trust me. Talk to them and find out what they like. Seeing the character alone puts a smile on their face before brushing.
- Get them their toothpaste of choice: Toothpastes on the market come in different forms. Kids have specific preferences for toothpastes. It could be the taste, color, minty nature, gel form, packaging, smell, etc. Allow them to pick their favorite whenever they tag along to the supermarket. For kids from birth to 3 years of age, their teeth should be brushed by an adult using a minimal amount(a portion the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste. For children from 3 to 6 years of age, only a small portion(a portion the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used during brushing. Children in this age group should be assisted by an adult when brushing their teeth.
- Play music whilst brushing: To make brushing fun, play them their favorite song whilst they brush. It could be the popular “Baby Shark” or probably a song they dance to at school. Most of these songs on YouTube last 2-3 minutes and that is the average time for brushing. Consequently, they need to keep brushing till the song is done playing. You could also develop a dance routine for brushing so they always look forward to brushing twice daily.
- Story time: If your toddler likes stories, you could make up any story about brushing in your local dialect. One example is narrating to them a toothbrushing story about tooth monsters attacking their teeth at night if they refuse to brush twice daily. To make it more interesting, you could add that the only way to fight those tooth monsters is to use their toothbrush(which has their favorite character on it) to combat all the monsters in their mouth in the morning and evening.
- Gum massage: The use of a clean towel soaked in lukewarm saline water to massage toddlers’ gums has been proven to be effective at providing soothing relief during cleaning of the child’s teeth. Toddlers teething would not allow you to brush their teeth because their gums would likely be slightly inflamed during that period. In your attempt to avoid brushing those areas, plaque deposits keep accumulating in their mouth and this worsens their plight even to the extent that the pain prevents them from eating properly. Hence, massaging those affected areas before brushing allows the gums to recuperate and also alleviates the pain.
Dentistry is not expensive; negligence is.
Thanks for reading.
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