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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sweet sweet harriet.
you are two months old. a fog has lifted and we’ve [fingers crossed] reached the end of the newborn-crazies tunnel.
your smile is the most beautiful thing. when you smile, your bright blue eyes get bigger [who knew that was even possible?!] and your mouth, wide and gummy, turns up just at the edges like little cartoon lines. you are incredibly happy and emit this gurgly giggle that just kills me every time. you coo and squawk and have a special little noise you seem to use just to say hello.
ramona and you spend a lot of time making each other smile — you in your bouncy chair and her bouncing you, tickling your neck, making smiley silly faces. she adores you.
you, right now, do a great job of going with the flow. you are along for the ride. and it’s been a fun one so far! you speak up if you need something but usually you are just really stinking content. patient. calm & collected. i have not ever met a baby who is just so cool as a cucumber. and we though we had it easy with your sister..
i love you, etta z. each day you become more familiar than the last. you fit right in from the beginning. and though so much of newborns is a mystery — who you are, what you like, what you need, who you are going to become — but we delight in figuring this all out.
your chubby cheeks, your bald head, your bright eyes, your gummy smile, the adorable quivering frown when you are sad or upset, your constantly stuffy nose, your rapidly growing finger nails, your delicious milk breath, your fervent suck. you are you. wholly you, known and loved before you were knit in my womb.
what an honor it is to be your mother.
i love you. love, mama.
miss etta z,
you are quiet. you are calm. you are patient.
you are wide awake, miss wide eyes. and then, just like that, you are fast asleep for long stretches. i’m not going to count my chicks before they hatch but this is a good start.
so far, everything is so good. you nurse like a champ. you love to be worn. you prefer to be swaddled. you go with the flow. you take a pacifier (which is odd for me since ramona didn’t until she weaned). people say you look like me! i love hearing this. i am most often holding you.
there will be more letters, baby girl. and longer ones. i promise. right now, we’re adjusting to the four of us. but let me tell you this: you were always meant to be here and to be a part of this family. we cannot even remember what it was like without you and it all just makes sense. welcome.
i love you.