HELP! My 2 year old refuses to have her teeth brushed…

Posted in Dentist Cape Town / Kids / Oral Hygiene

HELP! My 2 year old refuses to have her teeth brushed…

Brushing your toddler’s teeth can definitely be a challenging task that most parents would rather avoid. I’m suremost of usunderstand the importance of Oral Hygiene and a daily brushing routinebut what if your 2-year-old JUST REFUSES to have her teeth brushed and this “daily-teeth-brushing-routine” turns into a crying, tantrum throwing nightmare that leave you discouraged and frustrated?
Don’t worry, there is hope and an easy way to turn brushing into FUN times!

Here are a few tips that can make your job a little bit easier and turn brush times into FUN times!

  • Be careful with food that contains SUGAR! – this includes chocolate , candy, juice and even some processed food. SUGAR is the main cause of tooth decay, and if you struggle to do an effective job at brushing your baby or toddler’s teeth, you should really think twice before giving them too much sugary products.
  • Nevergive a bottle/Sippy cup with milk or juiceto your child before they fall asleep. Always brush the teeth afterwards to wash away all sugar before bedtime. Milk, formula milk, tea or any sugar containing juice(even if diluted) given before bedtime can cause rapid tooth decay of the upper front teeth. This is called Baby bottle feeding syndrome and is very serious as it can lead to earlytooth loss. Try to brush or rinse with water after beverages and meals.
  • Use Xylitol Toothpaste for Kids(without any fluoride) –
    Available at health food stores and selected pharmacies. (Dischem)
  • The best way to introduce the toothpaste is to put some in your own mouthandsay something like: ‘mmm this tastes YUM YUM. Next put some in her mouth to let her taste for herself.Xylitol tastes sweet and your child will love it!You can also put some toothpaste onher finger then demonstrate with your own finger in your mouth how to rub the toothpaste on the teeth. Continue to brush with your finger for afew daysfor them to get use to the feeling.
  • Buy a small, very soft toothbrush. It is a good idea to first give them the toothbrush (while watching and guiding carefully) with some xylitol paste so they can get use to the feeling of the bristles. Then you can demonstrate again by brushing your own teeth. Make sure that you are eye-level with your toddler whilst doing this exercise, even sit down with them and be very patient. It depends a lot on the patience and attitude of the parent as to how well the toddler will participate.
  • MAKE IT A GAME! Explain toyourchildthat there are teeth “goggas” on the teeth andshe must helpyou to destroy them because they are not good forher teeth.You can use sounds and make up a song for the brushing routine – try to make it as muchFUN as possible.
  • Don’t use too much tooth paste as it will be too much to swallow and can be very uncomfortable or even terrifying for a child.A pea sizeor less is enough.Have a glass of water ready and teach them to spit out the water – most kids really enjoy doing that.

What many parents do not realize, is that tooth decay can start from as young as 8 to 10 months, hence the gre

at importance of removing plaque on a daily basis and making sure to limit sugar and other acidic food from your child’s diet. Teach your children from a young age to drink lots of water soit will become a habit and an added benefit to help fight cavities.

Also remember that our children like to copy us, so now is a good time to enforce new healthy habits on yourself also. It is advisable for a child to start seeing a dentist from the age of one. The earlier, the better. Most dentists will be able to answer all your questions and give valuable advise as to how you can ensure healthy teeth and gums for your child.

It will take a while for your child to adapt to this new and foreign concept, please don’t lose hope, just continue to try and be consistent, but most important, be PATIENT and LOVING!

Good Luck and Happy Brushing!

Dr Francois Burger