You would think, that having a spouse who is a dentist, would ensure that your children love having their teeth brushed. At least, I would.
But for all you out there who wrestle with your tots everyday to scrub their teeth, I'm here to tell you, the struggle is real my friends. I would say that for their first couple years of life, our kids are probably poster children for kids throwing a tantrum when it comes time to brush their teeth.
That being said, being the wife of a dentist, I've heard plenty of sad stories from Mike about the condition of some of his young patient's teeth, and I know that the struggling and fighting is worth it. As I tell my kids, "one day you'll thank me when you still have all your teeth."
There seem to be some common themes that you hear when it comes to parents defending their children's oral hygiene. Here are are some typical comments you can find on any mommy forum, and things that my husband hears all the time:
"My child just brushes his own teeth, he loves it!"
Children are not capable of properly brushing their teeth unassisted until somewhere between ages 7-8. A good rule of thumb is that if they can tie their shoes or write cursive, they can be taught to brush their own teeth, under supervision. Don't think that your child is the exception to this rule, they're not. If you want to allow your child to "brush" their own teeth either before or after you do, that's fine, and sometimes it helps them calm down while you're brushing their teeth if they know they get to do it next.
"We only buy fluoride-free toothpaste."/"I don't trust fluoride." Or any variation thereof.
The general scientific consensus is that fluoride is safe and effective in reducing overall levels of decay in the population. The fluoridation of public water has been hailed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as one of the top 10 medical achievements of the 20th century (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm). My husband always tries to encourage parents to use fluoride toothpaste and supplements, but has found that when people are strongly antagonistic towards it, that it's "not worth the effort" to push the issue when they are adamant. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, right?
"My pediatrician says I need to take my child to the dentist at a year old, but they only have one tooth! That seems silly to me."
Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists and the American Dental Association, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you take your child to see a dentist by their first birthday. This first visit is mostly educational for the parent, to help you know how to best care for your child's teeth. You may think that this is unnecessary in your situation, but we can all benefit from additional oral hygiene education; and oftentimes they can give you tips and techniques that can be really helpful in dealing with your child and their oral health.
"I put my baby to bed with a bottle every night, it's the only way she'll fall asleep."
If you feel like you must put your child to bed with a bottle, then be sure that it only has plain water in it. Giving them a bottle with other liquids (milk, formula, or juice) exposes their teeth and gums to sugars for longer periods of time. The bacteria that causes cavities and decay "eat" these sugars and then "spit out" acid, gross, huh? That acid is what "softens" (demineralizes) the teeth causing cavities.
"But these are just his baby teeth, they're going to fall out anyway!"
Significant damage to the baby teeth can affect the developing permanent teeth. Remember that once your little one has their baby teeth, their adult teeth have already started forming as well, so you still need to be diligent in how you take care of their cute little smiles. :)
You can find a quick facts guideline sheet //here//.
One thing I have learned about my children is that they really prefer the fruity or bubblegum type flavors of toothpaste, they say that minty flavors are too "hot" or "spicy". When they have a flavor of toothpaste they enjoy, things go slightly smoother when it comes time to brush their pearly whites.
We recently had the chance to try some of the Hello line of oral care products, and I am a big fan! Not only are the flavors delicious (not too "hot" or "spicy"!) for them, but they're great for me too! I especially love the pink grapefruit mint, which comes not only in toothpaste, but in a breath spray that I love!
When I opened up my package from Influenster, I was excited about all the product that was in the box! As I was exclaiming over all the yummy flavors and cute packaging, my husband was examining the ingredients. Did you know that alcohol is a common ingredient in many oral care products, even though it actually dries your mouth out which promotes bad oral health? Well, Hello products have no alcohol, added dyes, or artificial sweeteners!
I'm also a big fan of their toothbrushes--simple, no-frills design. It doesn't matter as much what type of brush you're using to brush your teeth, more how you brush them. So there's not generally a need to spend a lot of money for a fancy-pants brush that spins and does your taxes.
I am very pleased with the Hello line and can't wait to try more! They also have flavors specifically geared towards young children, so our whole family can enjoy it!
You can click //here// for a coupon!
(I received Hello products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are 100% those of our family. Guidelines can also be found on www.aapd.org. More information on fluoride can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm. )
Labels: baby, bath and body