Health notebook: Dental care
A twice-a-day dental-care routine is non negotiable, even before those tiny teeth start to appear
Get into the habit of wiping your baby’s gums and tongue every morning and evening with a damp facecloth or a soft finger toothbrush. Do this even before the first teeth appear, so the habit can be established early on. Initially, you don’t have to use any toothpaste, as you don’t want baby to swallow it.
18 MONTHS AND OLDER
The time is right to introduce a tiny toothbrush. Allow your toddler to play with the brush and chew on it to get used to the feel of it in the mouth. But you have to do the actual brushing of the teeth. Brush in small circles around every surface of every tooth – front, back, top and sides. You might also want to introduce flossing now. Be gentle though, so you don’t damage the gums.
All this fiddling around in the mouth can be a bit much for a busy toddler; approach it with the right attitude from the beginning, so that it doesn’t become a cause of daily tantrums. Sit down on the bed or floor with a cushion on your lap for your child’s head to rest on. Then ask her to open her mouth, so you can brush and floss efficiently and with a good view of what you’re doing. If she needs a little break between sides, respect that. Spend at least two minutes brushing. Maybe you can sing a special song all the while. Remember to end off with brushing the tongue too. Explain what you’re doing, and end with a kiss. You could also allow your child the chance to brush your teeth!