DISCLOSURE: Noelle Copeland RDH is the oral care specialist and dental consultant to the Brilliant and Baby Buddy oral care lines through Compac Industries. See terms below.
Oral care for babies and toddlers doesn't have to be a struggle, but sometimes it just is, and that's OK. Long days followed by even longer nights can wear down patience, planning and purpose of the most intentioned parents. Honestly, nothing is struggle free in life, and tooth brushing a wiggly 2 year old is no different. Keep expectations real and do the best you can, and know how to pick and choose your battles.
A big question asked by parents a lot is what type of brush is best for my child.
Sometimes the best toothbrush for kids is the brightest, most colorful and sparkly one you can find, and other times it is the simplest, most comfortable, plain one that just gets the job done. Having both on hand is a great strategy, that way if you have a really cranky and tired little person on your hands you don't have to stimulate them with the buzzing and lights or the sounds an electric toothbrush can make, you can simply reach for the manual brush and get the job done.
Oral care should start when your child is an infant. Preferably within the first month of life. Parents should start a routine of wiping baby gums with a sterile mouth tissue or oral wipe, at least once a day. This not only enforces the normal routine of oral care very early, but it actually cleans and removes bacteria from the mouth, keeping a healthy oral environment and limiting the build up of milk residue.
Dental research shows that when oral care starts that early, kids are much less resistant to tooth brushing later on because the routine has been established. Now, there will still be times when they struggle or resist, but overall, there is much less occurrence of that happening.
If you didn't quite start oral care that early, don't worry, start wherever you are. Once teeth start to come in they need to be brushed with a bristle toothbrush. Adults should perform ALL the oral care for their children until the age of 5, thereafter directly supervising their children doing independent brushing and checking for effective results.
Children don't acquire the grip strength or dexterity to effectively brush their own teeth, by themselves, until the age of at least 5 and sometimes much later than that. As a rule to help you gage ability, when a child can tie their own shoes, they most likely have the skills necessary to explore more independence in brushing their own teeth. Click here to get the answers of frequently asked questions about oral health for children.
Have the right tools for your child's mouth. If you can, get 2 different styles of toothbrush to choose from. I tend to have a fun and stimulating electric toothbrush and a regular manual toothbrush available. The electric toothbrushes tend to clean better, but can be a challenge to adapt to, so have a manual toothbrush to use as well.
Below I've outlined some little “golden nugget treasures” for tooth brushing success that I have had great triumph in utilizing over the years.
The most important thing to remember is that you will have struggles and that is OK. As soon as you get one routine down, I can almost guarantee you that it will soon change or get interrupted by something else. Kids are changing and growing, and as that happens, their routines will change and grow too. Just remember that there can possibly be seasons where there are colds and fevers to care for, new diet restrictions or allergies, new siblings to get use to, a new home or new family member, oral ulcers or pain, the losing of baby teeth and getting new adult teeth, oral trauma from a fall or sports injury, even just the process of starting preschool or grade school can suddenly change how well your child does or doesn't adapt to home care routines. Keep calm, Keep going, and Keep Brushing.
From toddlers to adults, Brilliant has a solution to provide you with a lifetime of smiles. Both our manual and sonic toothbrushes feature all-around bristles to remove twice as much plaque as a flat toothbrush. At Brilliant Oral Care, we strive to offer lifetime care for Baby Gums through Seniors Gums with products that encourage a lifetime of healthy smiles. Brilliant Toothbrushes have a round head featuring all around bristles to offer an unparalleled cleaning of teeth, tongues, gums, and cheeks, without the sharp bristles that far too many have had to endure.
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