Sarah talked to PL Magazine about how parents can help keep their children’s teeth clean and healthy in the December 2014 edition of the Plymouth lifestyle magazine.
When your Little One’s first teeth break through it’s time to start brushing with a baby tooth brush and a smear of baby toothpaste (a few babies are born with a couple of teeth usually incisors). Use a little water and gently brush the tooth in small circles front, back and along the top of the tooth. Once they get all their teeth it only takes a couple of minutes and often reminds us to take care of our gnashers.
Do praise your child when they brush their teeth but resist the urge to overdo it. If you make too much of a song and dance about it and give them rewards and treats it often leads to children refusing to open their mouths because they know they’ll get lots of attention. Play it cool – brushing your teeth twice a day is just a part of morning and bedtime routines, like getting dressed or brushing your hair.
Smiling and tickling their cheek for a bit of low-key encouragement and getting on with it swiftly often works best with children who need a bit of persuasion. If you have the odd bad day it’s not the end of the world if you leave it till bedtime.
Let your toddler have a bit of responsibility for brushing their own teeth and lead by example by doing it together. Give them the choice ‘Do you want to brush your teeth or shall I do it?’ It doesn’t matter which option they choose – the result is the same.
Taking your Little One with you to the Dentist from an early age will help them become familiar with having their teeth checked and understand why we all have to take care of our pearly whites. During pregnancy and maternity leave mums can have free dental treatment and all children’s visits to the Dentist are free with the NHS.
Are you having problems getting your LO to brush their teeth?
About Sarah Beeson MBE
Sarah was a health visitor for over 35 years and is now an author and baby expert. Her memoir The New Arrival (£7.99 HarperCollins) her parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby (Pre-order £9.99 HarperCollins 7 May 2015). Find out more in About Me.