If your little ones are getting teeth… this is the right place. Whether they’re 3 months or late bloomers (some of mine didn’t get teeth until 12 months) this is for you!
We have had some of our most epic meltdowns in the bathroom.
Not relating to the potty.
But, rather, related to teeth. Brushing teeth, to be exact.
There is a predictable path toddlers like to take in the journey to self-sufficient dental hygiene.
It goes like this:
- thinks brushing teeth is fun
- wants to help you brush their teeth
- refuses to let you brush their teeth and wants to do it all themselves even though they aren’t coordinated enough to reach most their teeth
- relents and lets you help them as long as the toothpaste is to their liking
This is the tricky part in our home. Finding a toothpaste that cleans and is not full of sweet gel like sugary stuff.
Or toothpaste that isn’t “spikey” as my kids say. I still have no idea what they mean by this.
Toddlers and Teeth… The Struggle is Real
Whether they’re teething or taking care of their teeth, the area of dental hygiene comes to the forefront during the toddler years.
Teething Pains, Care, and Comfort
Essentially, our little ones are “teething” off and on for years. It will disrupt their sleep, it will disrupt their mood, it will even contribute to some unhelpful habits if we’re not careful.
Because it can tend to last a while we often resort to bad habits just to get through. Then, before we know it, six months and 5 teeth later we’re knee deep doing things we never wanted to do.
And, since we can’t just give our kids Tylenol all day long every day for months, here are some things we do.
Things we like to do to help with teething pains:
- give something hard to chew on
- pacifier (if they’ll take it)
- a natural pain reliever on the tooth area
“Watching teething babies is like watching over a thermonuclear reactor – it is best done in shifts by well-rested people.” A. Doeff
Teething Brushing Battles and Considerations
For some reason my children choose Brushing Teeth as a battleground. They don’t want to do it when I ask them to do it.
They want huge amounts of toothpaste to suck off the toothbrush before they’ll even contemplate brushing. It’s all very interesting to me.
Here are some tricks to stop tooth brushing power battles:
- let them brush first and you follow up behind
- allow them to put the toothpaste on the brush themselves
- explain no matter what, brushing teeth must be done, so they can do it themselves or you’ll do it for them
- use the South African Method of Cooperation which says to do one thing before another (eg. “I’ll know you’re ready for books and a bedtime story when you’ve brushed your teeth)
Dental Care and Finding a Dentist
As soon as you take your children to the dentist (and it’s not hard to find child friendly dentists!) they will give you a lot of care information you can implement into your wind-down routine at night.
- call around for pediatric dentists
- request your first appointment be just ‘getting to know the process’ let them sit in the chair, lay back, see how the light works
- help your child feel at ease there and relaxed
- only after that allow procedures to take place
The sooner your kids have gone to the dentist and had a positive experience, the better. If we associate brushing teeth with cozy bedtime routines the whole process becomes easier.
“Every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond.” Cervantes
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