Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't forget to pack your toothbrush!

My daughter cut her first four teeth, all at the same time, when she was about six months old. By the time she was a year old, she had thirteen teeth and they just keep coming! Dental hygiene isn't what I would call my strong suit. Sure, I brush every day, but I confess, I don't always floss. And it's been much longer than it should have been since I've visited a dentist...

I don't want to pass on my less-than-stellar habits to my children, but that's easier said than done. In an effort to set my girls up for success, I put the question to you. I just hope it isn't too late.

At what age do you start brushing your child's teeth?

How do you do it?
I've tried several times to brush her teeth, but all she wants to do is suck off the toothpaste...

Any particular toothbrushes or toothpaste you've found to be more toddler-friendly than others?

When do you venture out to the dentist for the first time?

Any tips or tricks would be appreciated--especially by my kids years from now when they still have all their teeth!

...and dare I mention floss?


Jared and Delia said...

I just wet our cloth bibs and wipe my baby's teeth when he is done eating or really let's be honest...just when I think about it. I shoot for at least twice per day. I admit I am not as sticky about it at first since it seems like he is eating and drinking ALL the time. Sometimes a swig of water helps to clean him up before bed or something. Then as he gets older I get him a little baby toothbrush. I brush his teeth with just water and then let him practice. At about a year (I need to get some, but have been procrastinating!) I get the toddler toothpaste that has NO flouride until I think my child is ready to try to spit it out which is supposed to be around 2 but my oldest son wasn't ready until almost 3. When I switch to flouride toothpaste I stop giving the supplement until he learns to really spit it out. Otherwise he is getting too much flouride (I can't seem to spell this word correctly...sorry). Then when he has that under control better I resume the supplement. I also use the kid toothpaste that has less flouride than adult toothpaste although you can start using adult toothpaste at age 3 I believe.For flossing for kids I use those little pre-strung picks (well I did until my son refused to use them because they were too baby-ish and wants to use ours). My oldest's teeth are REALLY close together so I try to do that when I think about it. My youngest on the other hand is slower in getting his teeth than his brother and they seem pretty spaced out so I think flossing would be pointless. How's that for the longest answer ever! :)

Universitybabe said...

I too am in the bad dental hygene habits category. Thankfully my children seem to be getting their dad's teeth. I buy a baby toothbrush for my babies about the time they start getting their teeth. Quite often during the bed time routine they are right there and instead of letting them off the hook I hand them the tooth brush and let them just play. Then I take my turn. For a while sucking on the toothbrush was "fun" so I would just get it wet and let them- I almost always take my turn. When they would fight it I would sing a song (usually all I could get was just one verse of something silly) I figure my turn might be short but we can work on length as they get bigger the goal right now is to get them clean and used to a toothbrush in their mouth. I have been wanting to get a timer but alas I forget everytime I am at the store. My kids love the pre strung sticks. I do the same thing with them as I did with the tooth brush--they can play and practice then I get a quickie turn to cover missed places. Luckily my kids have huge gaps between their baby teeth so far. My oldest was 4 and her sister was 3 when they made their first trips to the dentist. I know they say earlier but we weren't having problems and just couldn't get there.

Megan said...

I'm not great in this department either. However, when Lucas first got teeth, I did the same thing as Delia, gave them a drink of water after they ate. At about 11 months, Lucas was getting more teeth so we got a toothbrush. I try to brush his teeth every time I do. I have a time toothbrush so he gets his turn while I use my toothbrush and then I get my turn. I don't use floss because Lucas's teeth are not that close together. Also, children are supposed to see the dentist for the first time at around 2, but my insurance covers all checkups for kids, so I think I might take Lucas in a little earlier.

Jes said...

I do the wet cloth tooth wipe down when I think about it toom but I also make a point to use my daughter's (about 16 months) toothbrush and baby paste. We started when she was really little by giving her a baby toothbrush to play with that we disinfect every so often(we'd try to bush her gums with it too, but mostly shed just play with it) and always make a point to let her watch me brush my teeth and talk a bout it to make it 'exciting'! lol ...anyway as she started getting teeth we bought another identical baby toothbrush and would brush our teeth first, then her. She LOVES it!Sometimes when packing for trips and etc she sees my toothbrush and even mimicks it with her finger rubbing her teeth and asking please :) since your kids are older I dont know if that helps, but I guess starting young was our trick? for floss, lol Im no help at all (Im sooo lousy at flossing!)

Ben and Shauna said...

I worked as a dental assistant, for a really good dentist, and he would tell parents to bring kids in when they're 3-4, unless you can SEE a reason to bring them earlier. He felt that any earlier is just scary, and they don't understand what's going on. But to bring them when YOU or other family members are getting checked. If they want a turn, great, if not, then just wait till they're a little older.

As far as the brushing goes, to start as soon as they get a tooth. With us, when we were starting brushing with my now 3 yr old. We would brush his teeth with his toothbrush, while he would brush ours, with our toothbrush. Then we'd switch, and we'd each get to brush our own teeth. He's always been a great brusher. A little tip: Apples help clean teeth, so if your having a hard time, eat lots of apples! :)

Flossing: I'll let Cole watch while I floss my teeth, and he love trying to do it himself. Then just this past year, I asked if I could floss his teeth, so he will, and likes it.
Also, while we're brushing, he likes to name the food he's eaten through the day, as we clean it off of his teeth!

Ben and Shauna said...

Another tip, is naming animals that can open their mouths wide for example: 'How big can an alligator open his mouth?' or hippo, or whatever, it's actually fun to hear what animals they come up with. We've done a catepillar. Yea, figure that one out! :) He loves animals, so we've gotten creative! :) Also, a tip, to try to brush their tongues, it helps eliminate bad breathe!
Sorry this was soo long!