Anchor Mom: Brushing Teeth

Right when my son’s first tooth popped in, I started brushing it. It wasn’t too bad, a tooth in the front – it was easy brushing.

But sometime after the age of one, with a mouth full of teeth, things took a turn for the worse.  Every time I attempted to brush his teeth, he would bite me! The process was painful and I was certain it was not helping matters.

That’s when a trip to the dentist changed everything.

The dentist told me, “He’s great, well behaved! Brushing is no problem!”

What!?  With the bite marks on my fingers, I looked at him in shock, thinking my son was the worst behaved when it came to teeth brushing.

I think he could see how defeated I was on the topic and gave me the best parenthood tip I’ve received to date – how to get the little ones to accept their fate, clean teeth.

I tried to find a picture for you online, but couldn’t! Instead, pictures of smiling moms (with a little halo around their perfect hair) brushing their one-year-old’s teeth.  And yes, the one-year-olds had halos too.  That was so not the case at my house. Our technique was a little more forceful and not quite as picture worthy (maybe that’s why there are no pictures online?).

Here’s the step by step:

1- Lay your young child on the ground, sit at their head and use your legs to pin their wiggly arms down.

2- Put a finger in their mouth, between the gums and cheek.  This placement is important because you can keep the infant’s mouth open and not get bitten!

3- Brush away!

We are at a different stage now.  Now J can say ‘ah,’  ‘cheese’ and even brush in little circles throughout his mouth.  I can finally agree with what my dentist first said more than a year ago, “He’s great, well behaved!  Brushing is no problem!”

Of course, as a parent, I never pass up a good tip – and that’s where this latest interview comes in.

I interviewed, Megan Meany, a lifestyle expert and contributor to Pregnancy magazine.  You can find the full interview here.

Here are some of the tips she says are working for her young boys.

1 – Have an engaging toothbrush with their favorite character on it

2 – Brush while they brush.  You’re a good role model and you can keep an eye on them

3 – Use the Disney Magic Timer app to push kids to brush for the full two minutes recommended by dentists

What are your tips to make brushing work?