Whether we're talking about kids with special needs or little ones who haven't quite yet mastered the skill of brushing, flossing and... SWISHING (that's a tough one), dental care is a skill that needs to be taught. Cavities WILL happen if we're not vigilant in our fight against the "Plague Monster!" I prefer, "Sugar Bug" but Plaque Monster seems appropriate this month.
October is Dental Health Awareness Month AND Halloween. Coincidence??
I’m on dental hygiene with my kids like braces on a tween, like taffy on braces, like Chapstick on winter lips, like white sludge on your tongue after a night of drinking....you get the idea. I'm on it.
NOT because I’m winning at parenting or anything. I’m hyper hygiene aware, dentally speaking, because I have to be. If Avery requires any kind of dental work, she needs to be put under. Like, fully sedated in a hospital and obviously, that scares the crap out of me.
She won't stay still long enough for the dentist to do his thing, and due to a breathing issue, she can't be quieted with gas so...
....when the dentist tells me they've found a cavity, I need to be quieted with gas. Saying goodbye to your child as she's wheeled away to surgery, even if it's merely a tooth extraction or a filling, well, I'll do pretty much anything to avoid that.
1. Brush at least twice daily and limit sugary, sticky snacks. #obvious
2. Electric, Spinbrush, manual... we've tried them all. Sometimes we switch between the two to keep things interesting. The important thing is to choose a toothbrush head that is the correct size for a little mouth.
3. Inconveniently, most 'tooth gunk' is in between the teeth so flossing is a must even though it's a giant pain. We've tried all the gadgets—the flossing sticks and picks and they're 'okay' but when it comes down to it, regular ol' string floss works the best for us.
4. Drink LOTS of water, extra after each meal and avoid sugary juice and soft drinks.
5. Rinse with water before brushing to remove any surface reside, aka chunks of cheese or toast.
6. After brushing, rinse with an anticavity mouth rinse. My friend Julie swears by Starinse so we gave it a try. It's all natural (tastes sweet and lemony), does NOT contain fluoride or gross chemicals so it's perfectly safe to swallow.
*A note about the swish. Avery had a heck of a time with this. It took nearly three months to teach her how to inflate her cheeks with air....while keeping her lips sealed. In the end, her swish still needs work. Our dentist said as long as she keeps the rinse in her mouth (I like to grab her by the head and shake it around like she's in a paint can mixer...not sure if it helps, but it's fun for me) it will coat her teeth and that's enough. Don't even get me started on our recent "how to gargle" tutorial. Gong. Show.
7. Have a tooth plan to prevent over-crowding. Ask your dentist if an orthodontist might be able to start mapping out a plan (which might include some tooth extractions). This isn't necessary for everyone of course but for kids like Avery who have lots of teeth and a little jaw, it's been helpful.
8. Be mellow—it's okay if they're yellow. I lectured my son about the yellow undertone of his teeth. Turns out I’m a jerk because according to our dentist, everyone has a yellowy pulp inside their teeth. If your teeth happen to be more translucent than opaque, the yellow will show through. My bad. Sorry Sebastian.
9. Keep brushes clean and protected from “toilet flushed air.” You know what I'm talkin' bout. These cute little guys do the trick. They stick to the mirror and close over the head of the brush.
10. Brush as a team. When Avery was younger, I brushed her teeth. I laid her down on my lap with her head tilted back. That way I could see what I was doing and get at the back teeth. Now that she has better (but not perfect) fine motor control, she brushes for the first minute (usually while I'm doing her hair) and I brush for the second minute, floss and help her swish.
Knowing that my kids' teeth aren't rotting out of their heads makes me smile. :)
Not a sponsored post. Just in case you were wondering. :)