Swati Iyer wrote to us and told us about a concern she has for her 1 year old son who refuses to let her clean his teeth. She is worried that her child will start getting cavities and wants advice on how to teach him to follow good dental hygiene.
We asked our community of mothers to weigh in on this issue and have included their responses below.
At this age a child may have only a few teeth and may not be ready for brushing his teeth. It takes about three years for the complete set of teeth to come in. However, you can introduce the concept of dental hygiene with gentle rubbing on his teeth using a clean finger and a soft cotton cloth.
You may think that because these baby teeth are destined to fall out anyway, they don’t matter. But that’s not true because they act as guides for our permanent teeth which may not come in properly if the baby teeth are lost due to cavities and decay.
Dental hygiene is an important concept to teach our kids because a large number of children have cavities by the time they are in kindergarten. This is primarily due to diets that include too many sweets and poor dental hygiene.
Some kids may be defiant about not allowing you to clean their teeth. You can get a soft Baby Training Toothbrush that is fun for your baby to use. Also allow your baby to see you and your spouse brushing your teeth so that they want to imitate you.
You can read your child some children’s books that discuss the importance of keeping one’s teeth clean. Show them some funny videos, like the one about the adventures of Dr. Rabbit and the Tooth Defenders from Colgate. You can also devise some fun activities or games to play while brushing so your kids learn to associate it with fun. Never mind if it gets a little messy at times.
Each child will have their own time table of when they will learn to use a brush or allow you to clean their teeth. Be patient with your child and be consistent in teaching them to keep their teeth clean. Don’t use toothpaste until your child is old enough to rinse and spit it out.
Our thanks go out to the parents below for their advice and suggestions.
Janki Shah, Lipsa Das, InderpreetKaur, AditiJagtapDeshmukh, ShilpaKhandelwal, Rosalin Mishra, ViditaTayal
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.