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Dr. Spieler | Kids and Dental Injuries | Getting Kids to Brush

Dr. Eric Spieler, D.M.D.

Dr. Spieler

Discover How To Get Your Child To Brush

Getting you child to brush is a task that all parents have dreaded at one time or another. Getting your child to brush, however, is extremely important because it establishes good habits that last a lifetime.

How early should you start worrying about your child's dental health? The American Dental Association suggests that you begin cleaning your baby's mouth starting the first few days after birth.

After each meal take a damp cloth or wet washcloth and wipe your baby's gums. This accomplishes three things:

Your success in getting your child accustomed to having another person working in their mouth will pave the way to a smooth first visit to the dentist.

The baby's first teeth appear, on average, about six months after birth. Parents may notice excessive salivation a few months before the eruption of teeth. When teeth do appear use a cotton swab to gently swab the teeth and remove plaque.

By doing this daily routine, your child will grow up to "tolerate" you brushing their teeth. Parents are responsible for making sure their children's teeth are clean up to the age of 8! This is because on average younger children do not fully understand the complexities of tooth-brushing.

If your child has not grown up tolerating you "meddling with their mouth" you have a much tougher problem. If your child is two years of age and their teeth have not been brushed and inspected by you, in all probability, the plaque has not been sufficiently removed.

This situation is of grave concern because in children especially, tooth decay occurs faster than in adults. Despite your child's protestation and the fight they may give you, your efforts to clean their teeth will be well worth it in the long run. Your success in being allowed to brush their teeth is very important. It will keep your child's teeth cavity free and save you money on dental bills.

Start your program today and look for fun ways to engage your children in the activity. One method I have found that is fun and effective is allowing your children to brush your teeth. You should laugh a lot and make it a fun activity. Once your child brushes your teeth start to brush theirs. You may want to include older siblings in the activity.

Your enthusiasm is contagious!
If you are enthusiastic about the activity your children will be enthusiastic. Also remember that children are great emulators. They tend to want to do and try to do things that their parents do. If they see you brushing your teeth and displaying good dental habits they will follow.

Dental Zone Tip:

Help for Teething Pains
If your child is experiencing pain during teething (ie you have fed them, burped them, changed their diaper, allowed them to nap and "poop" and they are still crying and cranky) consider giving them Tylenol if you suspect that their teeth are erupting. Ask your pediatrician about the correct dose. This is much more effective than applying commercial compounds, which you rub on the baby's gum. Remember fever is never a normal part of teething and if a fever does arise you should consult your pediatrician immediately.

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