Does the word Colgate send your child into a meltdown? As a pediatric dentist with more than 30 years experience, I can give you the same reassurance you’ve probably already heard and say it’s a common phase they will outgrow – but that’s not very helpful when you have a screaming, kicking, biting toddler on your hands! Here are 5 ideas to help make brushing time more pleasant for everyone, Mom and Dad included:
Make tooth brushing into a silly game by taking turns. Your child gets to brush your teeth for 10 seconds, then you get to brush their teeth for 10 seconds. Count to 10 as you brush and then switch places. Count quickly or slowly, depending on how accepting your child is to having the toothbrush in their mouth. A favorite stuffed animal can join in on the fun too.
Switch the Toothpaste
Minty fresh breath is great, but the strong taste may be too much for your child to handle while they learn to accept brushing as part of their daily routine. Experiment with other flavors, such as bubble gum or grape, and with tubes featuring a beloved cartoon character. Take a trip to the drugstore and let your child pick out their very own toothpaste and toothbrush. They might be excited to try them when you get home.
And if that doesn’t work…
Skip Toothpaste Altogether
I’m a dentist recommending against using toothpaste. Hard to believe, right? But the most important part of brushing is exactly that – the brushing! One day soon, your child will outgrow this stage and will willingly brush their teeth, toothpaste included. For now though, scrubbing with a damp toothbrush is perfectly fine.
Make Tooth Time a Special Time
Turn off the TV and your phone. Lay a cozy blanket on the floor or snuggle on a favorite chair. Rather than struggle through brushing, make it an enjoyable experience by singing a lullaby while you work. With your undivided attention and lots of cuddles, your child may soon learn to look forward to having their teeth brushed.
Visit the Pediatric Dentist
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? Each child is unique and an in-person visit with a dentist is a great way to learn techniques to make brushing more pleasant for yours. This can also rule out any underlying reasons your child dislikes having someone in their mouth, such as a sore tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children see a dentist by their first birthday.
Dr. Rachelle Shaw is a pediatric dentist in Albuquerque, NM. She is proud of her 5 star reviews and her #1 referral source is word-of-mouth recommendations from happy children and their families. Dr. Shaw believes every child deserves a beautiful smile!