Thanks to TUNG Brush for sponsoring this conversation.
My little one is working on some molars, as the perfect teeth marks on my shoulder are hinting at. Tiny humans grow a mouth full of teeth fast, but it will still be years before they learn all the necessary skills and can care for their teeth properly. This is where we as parents need to teach good practices early and help our little ones in their oral hygiene.
Start Young, Start Early
Toddlers are ever so curious over what we adults are doing and that includes brushing teeth. I have an extra child toothbrush at my sink, so my little man and I can brush our teeth together in the morning.
When he was really little, I would wipe off his teeth with a cloth during bath time. Now, I try to get him into the habit of brushing. He knows that right after bath time he gets to play with his toothbrush at his sink. I think the toddler toothpaste must taste yummy because he seems to really enjoy it.
Of course, he more chews on his toothbrush and sucks at the baby toothpaste rather than actually brushes, but I do work on showing him how to slide it around. You know, when he cooperates. Most times I have to hold him down to give him a proper brushing while he squirms and protests, but it is important to protect his little pearlies.
I hope over time he will learn the importance and proper technique, but I’m ready to help him along while I need to. When he masters spitting and stops chewing on his brush, we’ll switch from just using baby toothpaste to adding some fluoride toothpaste.
Yes, flossing is crucial. And yet, as an intelligent adult, I have a hard time remembering to floss. It is just something a lot of adults struggle with, it is an extra step, but such an important one. I’ve been using the little flossing sticks as they are less annoying than using a string of dental floss. Fun flossing sticks for kids also exist, and when my child is slightly more cooperative and is not so throw-himself-in-all-directions, we’ll start using them.
Don’t forget the Tongue!
Our tongues can hold a lot of germs and cause bad breath, even if we do a great job at brushing our teeth. I got a chance to try out this TUNG Brush, and it is a new experience to add to our dental routine. The brush feels good on my tongue, like a little massage, so you know it is getting into some grooves and getting the yuck out of my mouth. I haven’t brushed my tongue much before so the experience is new and something I definitely need to practice to get into my routine.
The gel is fun and tingly, though it is meant more for adults and older children (over ten years of age) since you have to be careful not to swallow the gel, so we’ll just teach our toddler to use the TUNG Brush on its own or with a toddler-safe toothpaste. Just the act of brushing the tongue makes a tremendous difference in how clean my mouth feels after my brushing routine. Us adults and older kids that can use the gel safely will benefit from the Zinc compound that helps to neutralize the sulfur gas – the bad breath – caused by bacteria.
Did you know that the worst bacteria actually live in the back of your tongue? The TUNG Brush has been designed so that we can get to that bacteria without setting off that gag reflex we all hate. That’s the fun circular design that makes the brush so comfortable to use.
Start Dental Visits Early
My son’s first dental appointment was at 18 months. He had so many teeth already! The visit was pretty quick, just a checkup and a bit of tooth scraping, not even a full cleaning yet. Getting those started early is so important to help prevent dental issues and also get advice on how to help your child learn to brush his or her teeth properly. Adults visit the dentist every six months, and children should get in the habit of doing so as well.
Advice from fellow Moms
Since I’m new to the parenting world of raising children with healthy teeth, I wanted to let some of my fellow mommy bloggers share their tips with us as well.
My friend Erin from Stay at Home Yogi suggests you let your children get involved and take ownership early:
In my experience, the more ownership they can take the better! I let them pick their own toothbrush out at the store, and my 3-year-old likes to put the paste on the brush himself! 🙂
The lovely Choosy Kids blog shares tons of wonderful tips on dental care for children. Here are some highlights:
- Start brushing children’s teeth with a smear of fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth appear. This is a new tip for me!
- Avoid letting little children use mouthwash and teach them to floss instead. I didn’t even think about mouthwash issues!
- I love this activity idea to teach children to floss. I am so saving this in my back pocket.
Dr. Shahira reminds us that teeth can come at any age, and to start some dental care with the eruption of the first tooth.
There is no particular month that the first teeth should come. Start dental care with the eruption of the first tooth. Yes, the first brush will always be more of a toy than a tooth brush but do get the child in the habit of brushing twice. (If child doesn’t allow at all, use a wet wash cloth).
Share your early dental tips with us!