If you have a growing baby in the house, who is sprouting teeth, then you know that soon you will have to be ready to introduce the act of brushing. Yet, this seemingly easy and everyday activity may not be easy for most parents. Most toddlers do not like to open their mouths to the intrusion of a toothbrush and many of them even lack the patience to stand still while this activity happens twice a day. Yet, it is important to maintain and teach the children the importance of oral hygiene. Read these tips and tricks to ensure that your child does not create problems when it comes to brushing the teeth, and how you may make this activity as smooth sailing as possible:
Do not force the child
It is never a good idea to force the child into anything. This will only make the activity an unpleasant one in the consciousness of the child. Remember to leave the child as soon as there is a tantrum, and choose to speak to him/her once he or she has calmed down. Holding down the child will only scare him/her and that is not something that you can do every day for brushing their teeth.
Begin by gently rubbing the teeth
You can begin by gently rubbing the gums and teeth with the toothbrush so that the child first gets used to the motions and the feel of the bristles. This will ensure that the toddler’s teeth are stronger due to the massage, and it also gives the child plenty of time to ease into this activity.
Choose the toothbrush and toothpaste with care
No one wants the child to ingest needless chemicals on a daily basis. And in the beginning, while your toddler is still learning how to brush and rinse the mouth, there will definitely be instances where some toothpaste is swallowed. So ensure that you get a non-fluoride and child-friendly toothpaste. You can try a flavoured one, but ensure that it is from a reputed brand like Colgate or others, so that you can be sure that it is not laden with unnecessary chemicals. Also, choose a baby-friendly toothbrush that has soft bristles so that you can easily soothe the gums that are still sprouting teeth.
Add a little play
It would be a good idea to add a sense of play to the whole routine. In the course of the rest of the day, you can give the child a spare toothbrush to rub against his or her gums. This way, the child can try the activity and realize that it is not something to be unduly fearful of. This will also help the child take the activity in a better and more casual manner. When you are brushing the child’s teeth, you may like to laugh, sing, and make some funny sounds so that the child relates this activity with pleasant feelings. In this way, the child will actually get used to brushing. You can also start the activity by bringing in the rubber bath toys and asking the child to brush the teeth of these creatures. This will help the child associate play with brushing.
Make it quick
Toddlers do not have a lot of patience because they have an entire world to explore. Many of them get restless and may even put up a struggle if you drag an activity for too long. So, it would be a good idea to be quick about things as you brush the child’s teeth. Make the affair a quick one by handing the child a toy and singing or cooing to the child. This will distract the baby and it will give you a precious minute to actually clean the baby’s mouth well.
Do it together
When you do something with the toddler, not only does the child feel like a grown up, but he or she will also realise that there is nothing to be scared of. So, pick up your toothbrush and brush your teeth with your child before you actually start cleaning the child’s mouth. This quick routine before you start brushing your toddler’s teeth will give him the confidence to open the mouth and to let you do the needful. And when it is a family thing, the child is always ready to participate. You can do this for the night time brushing routine as the mornings may be a little more rushed.
Give the child some choices
When you give choices like asking him or her to choose the toothbrush at the supermarket, you are actually reinforcing the fact that the child is growing up. This will help the child understand that brushing the teeth is a grown-up thing to do, and he or she will willingly participate when you reach out for that doll-shaped or super hero-shaped toothbrush.
There are many good hygiene-related habits that we will have to infuse in our children from the time they are young. Do this with love and care instead of indulging in a struggle.