I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what about the dentist? Well the UK will soon be celebrating Apple Day on October 21st and it’s got me thinking about our teeth. Or, more specifically, about brushing baby’s teeth. So brace yourself for a little wisdom (and apologies for the puns).
Whether you love crunching on apples or prefer toffees and crisps, your teeth get a lot of use every day. Though they may now be fully grown and strong, they started out much smaller and more delicate. That’s why even the tiniest of gnashers need TLC so your tot can flash their best toothy smile!
We’ve all got our brushing routine (and probably bad habits too) but baby teeth are a whole new ball game. When do you start? What do you use? How often do you need to clean them? It can be hard to know where to begin with those small choppers! But fret not because here’s some advice and top tips to give you a helping hand.
before the arrival of baby teeth
Just as if you were training an Olympic athlete or musical genius, you’ve got to start them young! Okay, it’s not quite the same thing but it’s important to ease the good habits in early. You can make a gentle start before the first tip even peeks out. Use a clean and damp washcloth to get your little one used to the feeling of wiping their gums.
You can take your cues from teething too. Babies love to chew to relieve sore gums so why not swap out their teether for a finger brush or chewable toothbrush. They’ll be self-soothing and get used to the feeling on their own terms. They may even love the sensation of the soft bristles, especially if the brush is chilled.
those all-important firsts
Tooth be told, you’ll probably hear about it when that first pearl appears. Don’t worry if you’ve not begun brushing yet as this is the time to do so. And since they surely love sitting on your lap, that’s the best place to start.
Let them relax with their head against your chest and get a good ol’ look at their growing gnashers. Use a baby toothbrush to make small and gentle circular movements across every surface. Only the merest smidge of baby toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice, is needed to keep their precious teeth clean.
taking the time to lead the way
Hopefully, you brush your teeth twice a day and so should your little tot. Just as they follow you in conversation and smiles, they can follow you with a brushing routine too. When you wake them they wake you in the morning, make it fun to clean your chompers together. Perhaps sing a little song (I’m hearing the brusha brusha ditty from Grease) or give them a soft mirror to hold. That way it’s engaging and they can see what you’re doing.
Do the same just before bed, after they’ve had a last little drink. Routine is important for both you and your precious babe so find a time in your schedule and stick to it. If they love bath time, for instance, it’s the perfect opportunity to have a splash and a brush before bedtime cuddles. There’s no need to rinse with water afterwards nor worry if they swallow some of the toothpaste. Leaving a little behind helps it work its magic!
what’s all the fuss about?
If your bouncing bundle isn’t a fan of having their teeth brushed, don’t worry. There’s plenty you can try to win them around. Rubbing a tiny smear of toothpaste on their gums helps them get used to the flavour before you introduce the toothbrush. If it’s the toothbrush that’s the problem, try swapping to a finger brush. It fits easily over, you guessed it, your finger and often has nubs that baby will love.
When they’re a little older, let them pick their own toothbrush. Whether it’s got a much-loved character on it or splashes of their favourite colour, it’ll be special to them. A reward system is also useful, even before they’re old enough to understand it. If belly raspberries make them giggle, have a little play time before and after to relax them.
from tiny teeth to super smiles
Your tot’s baby teeth may only be around for a short while but they’re sure to be well used. How else will they enjoy apples and the occasional sweet treat! They also lay the groundwork for their permanent pearls so brushing really is important. Help them to form that habit early on and it will stay with them as they, and their teeth, grow.
And that’s it for my toothy tips. I hope you’ve found a bit of guidance and plenty of helpful hints! But if you do need a little more support then take a gander at our advice on brilliant brushing. Between this and that, hopefully, you’ll find the tools you need to make it fun, keep it regular and see them smile!