Kids and teeth! That gummy little smile is the cutest. We see that first little tooth about to surface and it’s so exciting until the all night crying. Does this sound familiar? I love little teeth, but getting my kids to brush twice a day is sometimes a little difficult. Don’t you wish you all had a little Dentist in your ear telling you what to do? Well, now you do! Meet my super sweet neighbor Dr. Carlen Blume! Here are her best tips on how to make sure our kids still have teeth when they are teenagers! 🙂
UGH! I can’t get my child to brush without a battle! What do I do? – By Dr. Blume
- The best answer is to start early. When your baby is born, start getting in his or her mouth with a washcloth even before there are teeth. That way, it is normal for them to have you in there feeling around! Start with a soft toothbrush when you see the first tooth poking through.
- When they are near the age of one, try singing and being really silly during brushing. Instead of singing a song with words, sing to the tune of a song with silly sounds that change the shape of the mouth. For example, we used to sing “Elmo’s World” with vowel sounds. E’s are perfect for getting the outside of the upper teeth. Don’t forget to stick out your tongue to the music and get the white build-up off!
- That will quit working. When it does, your child is probably really starting to exercise independence. This is when they may be willing to put the toothbrush in their mouth, but not if you are holding it. We’ve all been there, right? This is when you give them a choice of who goes first. You ask them, “Mommy/Daddy goes first, or Bobby goes first,” for example. This lets the child have some control, but you are still letting them know there are some things in life they don’t get a choice about and in this case, it is that the parent or caregiver gets in there every. single. time.
- That will quit working, too. When it does, have choices of toothbrushes (color, shape, designs, light up, musical, etc.). The child can choose which toothbrush is used or the adult uses one and the child uses the other.
- Next, toothpaste is up for selection. Let them pick the toothpaste at the store that they want to use. Fluoridated toothpaste is all at the same concentration in the United States when sold over the counter, so it is safe to let them choose – just use sparingly!
- Finally, don’t ever let them win and get away with not brushing. All that does is reinforce them to pitch a fit every time with hope it will work again. It is a vicious cycle. You must establish that it will get done and it would be better to do it the fun way! Remember, this is for their health. To brush a combative toddler, the best way is to have two adults sit knee-to-knee. The child is in the position to hug the non-brushing parent and then reclines into the lap of the parent with the toothbrush. This position allows for great vision, control, and parent cooperation to send the message that all family members feel this is important. If there aren’t two parents home, try laying the child in your lap while you sit on the floor or on a bed. Good luck! Hopefully, as you establish a regular pattern, you won’t have to do combative brushing often!
Thanks so much Dr. Blume! Here’s more information on how you can contact her for all of your dying dental questions! Carlen Palmer Blume is a board-certified pediatric dentist practicing in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating Cum Laude from The University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio dental school, she completed her first residency, the Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD). She served in the US Navy from 1999-2006 before returning to San Antonio to complete her pediatric residency from 2008-2010. She purchased her current practice, Blume Pediatric Dentistry (formerly Children’s Dentistry) in September of 2010. Dr. Blume is the Immediate Past President of the Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the chair of the Legislative Committee. She also serves on the Membership Council for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. She became board-certified on her first attempt and continues to maintain her credentials through pediatric-specific continuing education. Dr. Blume and her staff provide oral health care from birth through teen years. She offers full-service pediatric dentistry and maintains that thorough, ethical, gentle and informative care will continue to show that Blume Pediatric Dentistry is where smiles blossom!
Carlen Palmer Blume, DDS
Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Monday, 20 March 2017 2:54 PM