But they have no teeth!
Why had I bought a finger cover to clean teeth that did not exist? Each grandson has been started with a finger cover to rub gums before the toothbrush. I could send a list of links and examples but search for ‘Baby finger brush’ and you can find your own. Slipped onto my finger it protected me from the grip of a mouth slammed shut over my probing finger. It introduced the young’un to the rubbing movement typical of teeth cleaning.
Then came the teeth.
Now the matter of a scrub up becomes essential. The process of ‘open mouth’ is explained every time. Not one of the boys understood why this routine was introduced. It had to just become a habit. Abstracts like ‘ your teeth will fallout’ had no impact.
The twice daily event was peppered with, ‘No don’t suck the toothbrush’ “Scrub rub scrub” . Many exaggerated mouth movements while explaining the actions added to the entertainment and maybe the learning.
Repeat repeat repeat
By 15 months of age the babies were pointing at their toothbrush while in the bath. By 20 months they were finding every opportunity to ‘clean teeth … Clean teeth’ . They were now keen on that minty flavour.
Multi-purpose brush…or not
On one awful day the toothbrush was successfully hunted down. I can only imagine what was in his mind. In mine he was mimicking other brushes he had seen around the bathroom. He was found scrubbing the toilet with his toothbrush, ‘ clean clean’ being happily mumbled. Oh the dilemma. A telling off, a congratulations for cleaning or a diversion. I decided on the latter but with an explanation on why toothbrushes are not loo brushes.
Sucking the brush
Sucking was the next struggle. Minty toothpaste was neither food nor drink. To the boys it had become yummy. The teeth were not to be the only beneficiary. The gums, the tongue, the tummy were all keen recipients too. Explaining why all this scrubbing mattered continued.
Routine to raspberries
Making it part of a routine helped but more so had the minty flavour which lasts for generations. I did think about buying raspberry or any other fruit sweet flavour in the early days but it really is not worth it. My theory is that these alternative flavours are just another way of trying to introduce children to sweets or even sugar. It is not necessary. Resistance is not them fretting that mint toothpaste does not taste like sweets…. They are just getting used to the task of teeth cleaning.
By the age of 4 the purpose and pattern of tooth are was clear. A couple of trips to the dentist helped but that is another story!
- Try a finger rubber before a toothbrush
- Don’t waste your money on ‘special’ flavours or branded packs
- Be patient
- Be clear about what is going on….. Imagine a rod put on your mouth with a strange flavour…. Give them time