Do you have problems with brushing your little ones teeth? Most of them do at some stage or another. It’s his mouth and he is letting you know that he has control over it. It’s just another struggle on his part for self-determination. He is not going to give in and it would not be wise for you to give in because even baby teeth need to be cleaned. So what now!
Enlist the help of a third voice. You know the dentist has much more clout than you have. We had the most fantastic dentist when my kids were little. He started checking their teeth from a very young age and would ask to count them, having a quick look at the same time. He then told them that they had such lovely teeth and must be looking after them very well. At home all I had to do was say “Remember Dr Robinson said you had to brush your teeth to keep them healthy.” This worked very well.
The other option is to give them a choice. Have a few toothbrushes on hand. Different colours, some with pictures on. Let him choose which one to use, it helps them feel in control.
The third trick is to let him brush his teeth himself, this will help to develop his motor skills and independence and then you finish up with a good clean afterwards. It really is only at around seven years of age that they can be relied upon to brush properly so don’t let them do it on their own until then. You can also buy little red pills which they suck and it shows up plaque on teeth. I found this was great to show them where they had missed a spot.
Limit the bottle with juice. Sugars in the juice remains in their mouths and eats away at the tooth enamel causing cavities. Rather give your child lots of fresh water to drink.
I tried it all and somehow we managed to come out the other side with good teeth. When all else fails let them scream… at least you can see the teeth!
Written by Liz Victor – late CEO of Toptots Early Learning SA