Ramona got her first tooth when she was between six and seven months old. Up until then she had just been a drooly, gummy baby. The only thing I had to worry about is wiping her saliva-soaked chin and making sure her onesies were dry!
When that first tooth popped there was now a whole other act of care we were responsible for as parents. Brushing her teeth. Maybe it was because I was a first time parent but I had a little bit of anxiety about making sure I was doing it right. I mean, it was just a teeny little tooth! Did it really require toothpaste and a toothbrush? But then I learned that compared to my tooth enamel, my baby’s is 50% thinner. That’s why I need expert protection. A good toothpaste and toothbrush are necessary — as well as good follow-through with teaching her to get in the habit of brushing her teeth as she grew older.
She now has a full set of teeth and much more independent capabilities than she did when she was an infant. And brushing teeth is a given. We wanted to make sure that the daily habit of brushing teeth is not to be dreaded but that Ramona got used to it as a part of everyday life.
So to do this, first we started her young. As soon as there were teeth in her mouth we started with a soft small brush and made sure to get her teeth and lightly rub her gums. As she got older and more opinionated we had to become more creative. We’d often brush our teeth with her at the same time so she could mimic us. We made funny faces, stuck our tongue way out (brushing it of course!), and even made silly noises to make the event enjoyable for her and to demonstrate that her parents have to do it too.
Becoming more and more coordinated and independent, Ramona didn’t always want to follow our lead. So we moved her step stool to in front of our full-length mirror and let her watch herself brush. She had learned the basic “moves” from watching us, but now got a chance to see herself be successful in taking matters into her own hand (anyone with a willful toddler knows exactly what I’m talking about).
Voila! Now we have a little one who can brush on her own and even, dare I say it, enjoys it!
Other ways to encourage brushing?
- Let your child pick out their very special toothbrush and toothpaste set. Ramona has two Aquafresh toothbrushes and it’s up to her each night to pick what color toothbrush she wants to use. It may seem silly to have two toothbrushes out for a little one but this one likes green one day and blue the next and I’ll do whatever to get her to brush her teeth!
- Make sure they like the toothpaste they’re using. Taste matters! The Aquafresh Training Toothpaste we were sent to try is apple-banana flavored and Ramona loves it! It’s also fluoride-free so I don’t have to worry about her swallowing it.
- Relax. Your child will learn to brush their teeth and understand the importance of it. It needs to be done but if they don’t get the hang of enjoying it right away, don’t force it too hard. Hand them the brush and see what they do on their own. You want to make this as positive as an experience as you can!
- Aquafresh.com has more ideas with their app, including a learning-to-brush video and making-brushing-fun page. Aquafresh, The little mouth experts™!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Aquafresh through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Aquafresh, all opinions are my own.
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