As my 18-month old increases his repertoire of foods (he calls it “um”), the state of his teeth has become more and more of a concern to me. Feeding was never a problem for my boy, but now he’s discovered the joys of juice, brownies, cheese…, and so on (he loves to eat!), I’ve been trying to brush his little pearly whites (with still some gaps in between) and tounge without much success.
After a bit of research however, I’ve found that I am not alone. In fact I even stumbled upon a desperate Mom who was still having power “toothbrush struggles” with her 4 -year old. Luckily, I’ve no problem at all whith my girl of the same age – just get her a “Dora” or “Barbie” toothbrush and some kind of bubblegum flavoured toothpaste and she even looks forward to brushing!
But to get back to the point, here are some useful tips on the topic:
1. Start by buying identically colored brushes for him and you. Next, sit with your child on the bathroom floor so he can see what you’re doing with the toothbrush and try to mimic it.
2. Once your child is willing to put the toothbrush in his mouth, let him take a turn putting it in yours. Make a game of it: Each time he brushes your teeth, you get a shot at brushing his. If this ploy works, move on to the next step: Letting him “brush” your teeth while you do a thorough job on his. If the ploy doesn’t work, though, don’t push it.
3. Let your toddler climb up on a footstool (with you behind him for safety) so he can see himself in the bathroom mirror. As he stares at the reflection of the two of you, point to and count his teeth and yours. Then touch each tooth with the brush “to give it its share of toothpaste.”
4. Be encouraging and clap when he’s done it. Some parents even give little stickers or some kind of (non-food preferably) small reward.