Health notebook: Den­tal care

A twice-a-day den­tal-care rou­tine is non ne­go­tiable, even be­fore those tiny teeth start to ap­pear

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

0-18 MONTHS

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!

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