I bet that lots of parents out there ask themselves this question, I know I definitely did, So I thought I would write a post about the whole toothbrushing thing and give you my personal experience with Willow!
When Willow was a little tiny 3 month old baby, I attended a class. It was called Your baby’s Incredible 1st year and it lasted for 12 weeks. There were 6 other Mums and me, with their babies each session and we would all sit in a circle with the babies laying down on little mats or sitting up and playing with toys, the youngest was a baby of only 4 weeks old and the eldest baby was 9 months. Because the ages were so different, the topics of conversation were often about things we didn’t know, and things we know now. It was a few weeks into the sessions when tooth brushing came up in conversation. At the time, I had already visited my dentist and registered Willow and I was told that she would have her first check up at the age of 2. I didn’t ask about tooth brushing because she was a new born baby, it never crossed my mind at the time but by the time I was attending group, I was curious as to when to start brushing her teeth. I always assumed that I would just get a tooth brush as soon as her first teeth started popping up.
The idea being, I didn’t need to brush her gums. That’s it. Why would I want to brush my child’s gums?
What I discovered at the group was that I was wrong. Ideally, children should be introduced to toothbrushes when they are able to teeth of things. From when they start picking things up and gnawing on them with their gummy little mouths, we should be given them a toothbrush!
So what did I do? Well, being a first time mum I felt like I had to get it right, had to make sure I followed the rules, so I bought Willows first toothbrush (I still have it actually, in her memory box!) I bought one that says suitable from 0-6months that had a handle that doubled as a teether, well, truth be told, I bought three.
I kept one upstairs in the bathroom with her toothpaste and ours, I kept one as a spare and the other one, I threw in her toy box!
that’s right. I cannot count the amount of times I would find willow crawling to her toy box only to spill it all out and fish around for her toothbrush! She would find it, roll over onto her back and just lay there, chewing on it for ages.
That’s how I introduced willow to toothbrushes.
At bedtime, I would show her the toothbrush and sit in the bathroom and let her chew it for a little while, she would get excited at the sight of it. When she was teething and the dribble was everywhere and the nights were long, her favourite thing to chew was her toothbrush (and cucumber, she loved nice cold cucumber) she would chew the brush for a bit and then turn it around to the other end and chew on the teething part and then swap it back around again. After a while, the spare that I bought also made it to her toy box and when we reached the end of the groups, we were given a big gift bag full of freebies. Inside was a toothbrush that also made it to the toy box.
Willow loved her toothbrushes, she loved having her toothbrush and toothpaste before bed, she chewed on them and once she even cut a tooth chewing on the brush of the freebie one we were given!
sometimes, I would get asked why I let a toothbrush get into the toy box (isn’t that disgusting, and unhygienic!? said one friend**) and I always felt that perhaps I was doing the wrong thing but then I would see how easily Willow took to playing with her toothbrush and how much it helped her with cutting teeth and I realised that there was nothing wrong with having a toothbrush in the toy box! in fact, I think its one of the best things I did, it took away any threat, any fear, Willow was excited to use her toothbrush to clean her teeth because she was so used to it and it paved the way for making that part of our routine one of the easiest! **I would beg to differ, have you seen what babies put in their mouths? a toy box is pristine in comparison to a floor but I don’t see you wiping your little ones hand after they’ve crawled everywhere! **was my reply!
By the time we reached her first birthday, tooth brushing at bedtime had become a ritual, a part of the routine and these days, Miss Kaboodle is capable of cleaning her teeth herself! She has even graduated to an Electric brush! I have never, ever, ever, had an issue getting her teeth brushed. She brushes her teeth before bed every night without fail and then again every morning after breakfast. She has so far had 2 check ups with her dentist and both times the dentist has complimented on how good her teeth look. She has no cavities and they are still all white in colour. I don’t even have to remind her to brush her teeth anymore and she doesn’t let me help, oh no! She gets the brush herself, puts the toothpaste on herself, turns the tap on herself…She’s very independent and confident with brushing her teeth and I personally think that it’s a direct result of being exposed to them from such an early age. My brother had terrible milk teeth, they got so bad and so black that he had to have 10 of them removed by the time he was 5! Lots of children suffer with cavities, there’s sometimes no way of avoiding them but if you introduce toothbrushes and include it into your daily routine from early on, it will help keep the cavities away for longer.
How about you, did you introduce tooth brushing from early on? Did you leave it for later on when little one had teeth? What was your experience with your kids and the introduction of tooth brushing?
Sound off in the comment box!
As always, thanks for reading!