Here is a list of the most common tooth brushing woes, voiced by parents:
Child is sleepy in the morning and becomes cranky during tooth brushing
It is natural for the child to be sleepy or cranky in the morning. So, brushing your child’s teeth first thing in the morning can be very taxing for both the child and the parent. Include tooth brushing as part of bathing. The child feels fresh after a couple of mugs of water during bathing. This is a good time to start brushing.
Child wants to brush him or herself
The child’s initiative to brush should be encouraged. But, this should not be done at the cost of his/her dental health. The child can be allowed to engage in playful tooth brushing for some time, before the parent takes over.
Child does not like the taste of the toothpaste.
Many flavored tooth pastes medicated with optimum fluoride and xylitol (both are anti-carious agents) are available. You can experiment with small tubes of tooth pastes from various companies till you find a tooth paste which suits your child’s taste.
Child is playful and inattentive.
It is a child’s right to be notorious and mischievous. But, like in all aspects of life, discipline is important for the child. Parents should make it clear to the child that like nutritious food and bathing, tooth brushing plays an important role in maintaining one’s good health and it cannot be compromised upon.
Difficult to access all areas of the mouth as the Child does not retract his/her lips and tightens his/her cheeks.
This is a common problem. But, retracting the child’s lips and brushing the junction between the teeth and gums is very important because decay first starts here. Similarly, brushing the cheek side of the child’s teeth is very important because, the tendency for food accumulation is very high in this area. Like all challenging things in life, there is learning curve to accomplish this aspect of tooth brushing. But, if the parents are aware of the importance of brushing these areas, then the child can be cajoled in various imaginative ways till the child is comfortable with this aspect of brushing. For e.g Children like imitating their parents. So, if you brush in front of the child and show him/her on how the tooth brush reaches all the areas of the mouth ,the child would want to try it as well.
Afraid that the child might swallow the toothpaste.
The amount of tooth paste on the brush should be age related. Till 2 years of age use only a smear of fluoridated tooth paste. Between 3-6 years, use about a pea size of fluoridated tooth paste. In fact the new recommendations for tooth brushing advises against vigorous rinsing after tooth brushing.
So Dear Parent, we know that tooth brushing in a young child is no child’s play. But, it is a worthwhile effort and investment for your child’s magic smile……………………………….. Happy Tooth Brushing