If you have a growing baby in the house, who is sprouting teeth, sooner or later you’ll have to introduce them to the act of brushing. This seemingly mundane activity may not be as easy as it looks. Surprise, surprise–most toddlers do not like to stand patiently with an open mouth while an intrusive toothbrush picks at their teeth, leave alone doing the same boring activity twice a day! Yet, it is important to maintain and teach children the importance of oral hygiene. To make the task easier, here are a few tips and tricks which will ensure that your child warms up to the idea of brushing daily. Follow some simple wisdom to enjoy smooth sailing.
Do not force your child
It is never a good idea to force your child into anything. This will only make the activity more unpleasant and your child, more averse to the whole ordeal. Remember to leave your child be as soon as they throw a tantrum. Choose to speak to your little one once they’ve calmed down. Holding them down will only scare or annoy them and that is not the reaction you’re looking for, especially if you want to make brushing a daily routine.
Begin by gently rubbing the teeth
You can begin by gently rubbing the gums and teeth with your finger before introducing a toothbrush. Later, do the same with the toothbrush as well. This will allow your child to get used to the motion and feel of the brush’s bristles. Such massaging will also help strengthen your child’s gums and teeth while giving the little one plenty of time to ease into the activity.
Choose the toothbrush and toothpaste with care
No one wants their child to ingest needless chemicals on a daily basis. But in the beginning, while your toddler is still learning to rinse the mouth, there will definitely be instances when some toothpaste is swallowed. So ensure that you get a non-fluoride, child-friendly toothpaste. You can try a flavoured one, but ensure that it is from a reputed brand so that you know for sure it’s 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 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 spirit and be more casual about it. When you are brushing the child’s teeth, laugh, sing, and make funny noises so that your child relates the activity with playtime. This way, the child will eventually get used to brushing. You can also introduce a rubber bath toy and ask your child to brush the toy’s teeth, adding a bit of fun and play to the activity.
Make it quick
Toddlers do not have a lot of patience, and why would they when they have a whole new world to explore. Many of them get restless and may even put up a struggle if you drag on an activity for too long. So, it would be a good idea to be quick about things as you brush your child’s teeth. Make the whole affair easier by handing your child a toy and singing or cooing to calm them. This will distract your toddler and give you a few precious minutes to get brushing.
Do it together
When you emulate a toddler, the child begins to feel like a grown up. So, pick up your toothbrush and brush your teeth with your child before you start brushing theirs. This quick routine will give them the confidence to follow suit. And when it is a grown-up thing, your child will surely be on board too. You can try this at nighttime when you and your little one are more relaxed before turning in for bed.
Give your child choices
When you give choices to your toddler, like which toothbrush to pick at the supermarket, you are reinforcing the fact that the child is growing up. This will help your child understand that brushing teeth is a grown-up thing, and they will willingly participate when you reach out for that doll-shaped or superhero-shaped toothbrush.
There are many good hygiene-related habits that we will have to infuse in our children while they are still young. Do this with love and care instead of instigating a struggle. We’ll keep our helpful tips and tricks coming your way.