6 Helpful Tips to Brush Baby's Teeth
From the day teeth begin to grow in our little ones' mouths they are a pain! LITERALLY. And although us adults don't remember the torture they feel, we see it on their faces. And why wouldn't they be in pain? Tic-Tac size pieces of enamel are pushing through a hard tough gum. It's torture. With that said, did you know it is important to brush baby teeth early (and supposedly even see a dentist which I have yet to do myself for Jayla so...)?
To brush baby teeth is not as easy at it seems, sounds, or looks. At least that is not what I experienced when I first started trying to brush Jayla's teeth. We went through a long while where she wouldn't even open her mouth to let the toothbrush in and that resistance was not always from pain. It seemed as though she was afraid of the toothbrush and maybe didn't want things in her mouth because of the past pain of teeth growing; even if she wasn't in pain at that moment. Either way, she had four teeth at the top and four at the bottom and we needed them to be brushed, clean, and healthy.
So how were me and hubby suppose to get this toothbrush in that mouth that is closed up tighter than a virgin's legs? How were we suppose to make teeth brushing easy for us and Jayla? Well...we took to YouTube and found one video with a helpful tip on brushing baby teeth. Now I am here to bring you this tip with a few of my own now that Jayla LOVES to brush her teeth. I mean she's at the point now where she cries if the toothbrush is taken away too quickly and runs to the bathroom when we say "time to brush your teeth or you want to brush your teeth now?" You too can get your child to be an active teeth brusher if you follow these simple steps as well.
I found this tip on BabyCenter.com. At about 6 months or so, start rubbing those gums gently with a clean baby wash cloth. This will get your little one use to the idea of something in their mouth rubbing on their gums. To me, this step is a kick start for what's to come and just may make everything easier down the line. With all of the craziness that goes on daily with a baby you may forget to do this (I sure did!). It isn't the end all be all, just may help in the long run when you actually want to start to brush baby teeth.
2. Be consistent
With anything dealing with kids...MAKE A ROUTINE! Kids thrive on routines! Brush their teeth before or after breakfast (whichever you prefer) and at bedtime before or after bath. You cannot brush their teeth Monday and then not again until Friday. That is just confusing and will not signal to them that this is a new task that needs to be learned.
3. Make it fun
Jayla's dude is Elmo. So we hooked her up with an Elmo toothbrush and toothpaste with Elmo on it. Boy was she excited! Giving them tools with their favorite people (or monster) on it will make brushing their teeth even more fun. They may want to brush their teeth more because hey, Elmo brushes his teeth!
4. Brush your teeth together
Kids like to do what big people do. Let them watch you brush your teeth and show them how you are not afraid to brush. Use phrases like "See Mommy likes to brush her teeth" "See how Daddy uses the toothbrush" "You try to do it just like Mommy" (and if they don't try, its ok "maybe next time babygirl"). Plus any time together is fun! Spend this time to teach your child something new in a fun way.
5. Give them time
Give your child the most patience you can muster up. For a child to try something new, it takes a lot of effort and courage. Hell when some of us adults want to try something new it takes a lot of effort and courage LOL. So be patient. Their teeth aren't rotting, and nobody is going to die because they aren't taking to brushing their teeth right away. Jayla needed to first be able to hold the toothbrush. Then put it to her lips, then in her mouth. Next, moving it around, then letting me do it... I mean there was a lot of transitioning that required me to just take a breather and understand. It's their show. Buy your ticket, sit down, and be supportive.
6. Praise them for a job well done
Even if your child does not complete a full teeth brushing session, they deserve some type of gratification. We would thank Jayla for even holding the toothbrush because for a while she wouldn't even do that. When they see you happy and proud of them, kids want to do more of those things to get that same reaction. Trust me, making a big deal about the little things they do makes a big difference and improves the process of what you want them to start learning to do.
Teeth help us enjoy our delicious snacks like fried chicken, mac n' cheese, chocolate molten lava cake. LOL ok these may not be your everyday snacks (can you tell I'm dieting?), but if I didn't have teeth I couldn't enjoy them. That is why teeth brushing is so important and its better to start EARLY! Although these baby teeth won't last forever, they are the first step in transitioning and making sure the permanent pearly whites are strong and healthy.
How does your little one like brushing their teeth? Share your tips to brush baby teeth with us in the comments below.