Infants and Children Gum and Tooth Care
A routine gives a child a sense of security, but it also develops habits. Those habits can be healthy or in the case of no routine tooth brushing habits – unhealthy habits. Though infants have no teeth, those gums should be cleaned daily. By starting early, the infant will become accustomed to having you put cleaning implements in their mouth.
Infant Gum Cleaning Tooth brushing
The easiest way to get this accomplished and do so in a comfortable position for both the infant and parent/care giver is to hold the infant as you would if you were breast feeding but in a more upright 45 degree angle. Hold the infants chin in your hand and with the opposite hand use a moist soft cloth to gently rub the gums and clean any milk or formula residue from the gums. As the child gets older this same position can be used to brush the primary or baby teeth. By not applying toothpaste there will be very little to spit out or swallow. As the toddler gets older you can have the child sit or stand in front of you and again, hold the childs chin with one hand and brush with the other hand.
Children and toddlers imitate
Children love to imitate. Let your child see you brush. You can apply a ‘smidgen’ of child friendly flavored toothpaste on her/her brush and brush together. A favorite stuffed animal or doll can be a great way to entertain the toddler in tooth brushing ‘fun’. A fun cartoon character toothbrush is a fun way to encourage tooth brushing. Consider having several character toothbrushes on hand. A child friendly flavored toothpaste can be used – a ‘smidge’ is all that is need, just to flavor the bristles.
Tooth brushing Rewards
A weekly calendar is a fun way to reward the toddler/child in daily tooth brushing routines. Fun stickers to add when tooth brushing is completed by both the child and the parent/caregiver. Yes, some may call this bribery, I say, what ever it takes. A child’s teeth are worth a sticker bribe to make sure healthy teeth and gum care become a twice day healthy habit.
Children’s Tooth brushing is a child/parent affair
Children have limited dexterity, so helping your child with their brushing is very important. Make tooth brushing fun and a team effort. I tell the child there are big and small cavity bugs on the teeth. Grandma can clean the tiny bugs and he gets to brush out all the big bugs. If the brushing becomes a challenge and the child refuses to let me brush, then only grandma gets to complete all the brushing, this coaxing has worked for me, with my children and now with my grandson. Will the tooth brushing be perfect, not always, but remember, you are also trying to establish a healthy habit.
Healthy teeth/oral care habits start early, before those baby teeth are visible in the mouth. The parent starts the habit and should continue helping the child till he/she is about 6 years old. After this, the parent should continue to monitor these habits. A Dental Hygienist can also help with these healthy habits by encouraging and teaching the child how to make teeth cleaning easy. Give your children a great dental start, schedule a dental cleaning at Dental Hygiene Fitness today, 970-214-8420