does s/he always "put up a fight?" or cry everytime you brush his/her teeth?
do you wish there was an easier way?
if you answered yes to all 3, then read on!
i brought matteo to a children's dental clinic just after new year coz he had green stains on some of his teeth. as soon as the dentist opened matteo's mouth, she confirmed that some of his teeth were starting to get cavities and a few already had cracks. i was sad. she even told me we would need to put pastas (just on the top part, no drilling necessary) to prevent further decay on 6 of his teeth and so he wouldn't lose them early. i was all for it of course but as soon as i found out that it would cost around 1-2 thousand pesos per tooth, my jaw literally dropped and when i recovered, all i could say was "wow!" i'm still scouting for a more affordable dentist and hopefully i can find one soon.
we didn't leave the clinic with just a check up, of course. matteo's teeth were cleaned and flouride was used too. oh, and because matteo's teeth are weak and matte-like (not glossy like the healthy ones), this needs to be done every 3 months. that procedure alone costs 1,800 pesos and it didn't even last 5 minutes. good thing i was able to take advantage of their promo and paid 999. but then the next visits would be at the regular price. oh my.
the dentist did tell me that if we didn't do those things she may have to do some drilling and possibly result to using a sedative. or that matteo might grow permanent teeth even before he turns 9. now who would want any of that?!
so going back to my questions earlier, if you said yes to all of them, here are a few valuable things i learned from the dentist (and from my experience after that visit):
- if they cry, let them cry. after brushing their teeth, they'd be their usual self again. brushing is not painful to them, they just don't want it. so just let them cry.
- for kids aged 2 years and below, it's best to use a toothbrush that has a circular and smaller shape. i believe these are the end-tuft toothbrushes. the clinic carries the tepe brand and they cost 200pesos each. still on the lookout for a more affordable one though.
- milk is the number one cause of cavity. so if you could get them to lessen their milk consumption (to 2 glasses per day), then please do. unless their pedia says otherwise. :)
- brush their teeth at least 2 times a day (seems like 2 is the magic number). ideally, it should be every after their milk consumption but you can start with 2 then 3, etc.
- now how to brush their teeth? there should be 2 of you (that number again, i know) so get someone to assist you. sit on the edge of a bed and get your helper (spouse, partner, mom, or anyone who's willing) to sit in front of you on a chair. as much as possible, your laps should be on the same level. if you're the one doing the brushing, have your kid sit on your helper's lap facing him/her. then slowly let your kid lie down on your lap so you can have access to his mouth. (his upper body should rest on your lap and his head should just be somewhere near your crotch area.) although this position won't guarantee that your kid will cooperate and just say "ah!" this makes it easier to brush the teeth once you are able to open his mouth. believe me, in this position, it's not difficult to open their mouths even if they're crying. try it! i tried it on uno and matteo, and so far i've had a 100% success rate. ;)
i hope these things help. we often tend to overlook teeth but what we may not realize is their teeth is also essential for their growth and development. and self-esteem too. so let's take care of their teeth early on!
let me know how it goes! :D