Guest Post by Dr.Deepti Jain
It was only 6th month of experiencing motherhood and I saw a pearly white edge in Baby A’s little mouth. Being a dentist, I straightaway knew it was his first tooth popping out. He had always defied the laws with milestones and so was with the chronology of tooth eruption – it was his upper tooth. I was also aware it could be months till those tiny teeth would make a full show along his lip line.
So while walking into the library, me and him decided to take this book called Pony brushes his teeth. We would get up in the morning I will show him the book and mention to him,” Baby A, look these are Pony’s teeth and see how bright and shiny they are!”😁🐎 He grinned– I still don’t know at what but definitely not at my wisdom on Pony’s white sparkling teeth😏.
In fact, I personally think a 6 month old is happy about anything and everything unlike the one in 2s. Anyways, we continued this routine for a few weeks which helped me clean the little white edge with a finger brush and he accepted it with the same grin. We scheduled it in a way that we did it twice a day, with a mild tooth paste. As months passed, me and Baby A found it all changing- with me being the same mum and he transforming into a caterpillar from a cocoon.
“Don’t give up” is what I know works the best for me and this mantra keeps me busy evolving my strategies to deal with his changing behavioral patterns. This led to a brand new tactic and my turn-your turn routine😎😎 for my very soon going to be a toddler.
Now that he is two, we play the responsibility game .We keep mummy baby toothpaste and tooth brush in the same stand. We wait till we both are up and about. It is his responsibility to hand me over my set and take his, open the cap of the tooth paste and tell mummy,” Mummy bruuu… .”😁 And then it is aaaaaaa.. eeeeee… no chewing!!
Think of it and you know one of the most tiring job for a mum is to get a toddler brushing his teeth and getting it right!! We all somewhere know, when these little beings start realising and asserting their independence it can be a struggle to get a simple two minute task done. Being a mum is not just being a mum, it is providing your baby proper nurturing and grooming, without making it a power struggle.
Also, most little ones lack the dexterity, which is very expected and tend to chew on the bristles rather than the actual movement of the brush and it is here, that supervision comes into play.
No one wants to start day on a tantrum and there is nothing more satisfying for a mum than to see a happy and healthy growing baby.
Here are my few strategies to make life routine easy on them and easy on you.
# Start early
As soon as you notice your child is having a tooth out, start educating them about brushing with help of board books, visuals, even toy brushes on their favourite soft toys.
Our favourite book!!
#Buy the right product for the right age.
While a big baby tooth brush might appear daunting to a 6 month old, a simple finger brush can do the trick and get you more control over the brushing. Several brands do them in different colours to make it fun, like one on Amazon .
Baby and brushing
#Mild tooth paste
Babies and toddlers have strong taste reflex. If they don’t like something they spit it out and forbid them totally . Always choose to go for a mild flavour or something that’s your child’s favourite. Baby A doesn’t prefer fruit flavours so we always get him aquafresh milk teeth tooth paste and he loves it.
# Play the turn game
We often do this as he is grown up now and easily distracted. Offer your child to brush your teeth and then brush his in return. This also develops a sense of responsibility in the child while keeping him occupied.
#A routine is a must!!
Babies and toddlers do things best when they know it is a part of their routine. Make sure the time table is maintained even if you are on a holiday. It only takes 2 minutes then why compromise ?
Keep It Simple Silly. This is a principle that goes for most things in life. Try and try your best but on off days let them have a little play around and leave it. They are only little and have no means to communicate- how are they today so do not jab it. Leave it and they will appreciate it tomorrow.
Lack of dexterity makes it a task for them which is fair enough, so just go around with the brush after they have done for a minute or two. Sing a simple song or a rhyme like the paste on the brush goes round and round in you mouth. Fun works wonders!!
# How about playing ‘copy cat’
Making sounds like aaaaaaa eeeee and them copying those sounds help them access the surfaces of teeth and prevent chewing on the tooth brush. This also gradually inputs the idea of how does a toothpaste brush combo works in their mind.
These tips and tricks have helped me achieve my child’s willingness to brush his teeth without a fuss. Let me know if they helped you too?😊😊
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