I wanted to start a series of posts (yeah, I know I have lots of series still in the works) about daily routines like eating, sleeping, bathing and how we do them. I am always interested in seeing how other people do things so this will be a great series of posts to remember when Lexi is all grown.
Proper tooth brushing is probably my most hated part of daily routines because Lexi fights me on it so much. All she wants to do is brush her teeth herself. Or brush my teeth. Or daddy’s teeth, but she almost never lets me brush hers. Obviously, she doesn’t do a great job brushing her own teeth, though I gotta say it’s getting better.
Growing up in Russia there was absolutely NO pressure on kids to brush their teeth in most families. It’s just not something parents cared about, which is pretty horrible if you ask me. So to me it’s important to instill a good habit of brushing teeth twice daily with Alexis.
How many teeth:
At this point, aside from all her front teeth, she has all four molars in, and 2 bottom incisors, so tooth brushing is crucial.
How we do it:
After literally not being able to help her brush her teeth (she’d grab the toothbrush and run away) Andrew came up with a “Tooth brushing Party” idea.
We make a party out of it.
We all get our toothbrushes, she gets a touch of fluoridated toothpaste and we dance around brushing and singing “Tooth brushing party, tooth brushing party, tooth brushing party, yay, yay, yay!”
Once we are done, I sit down with Alexis on my lap (and this is the ONLY way I can get to her teeth), I lean back a bit and press the back of her head lightly against my chest, so I can have access to her teeth from above while lightly restraining her. She complains, of course, but it has to be done. I talk to her through the whole process, asking her to give me her bottom teeth and then top teeth and back teeth, and again ( a little bit more, I say) bottom teeth. It’s a struggle, but eventually I get all the teeth clean enough (I can never get more than 1 minute).
The funny part is that she runs away from me and continues “brushing” her own teeth, so it’s not the brushing that she minds but the lack of control.
How she likes it
While she doesn’t like being restrained and having me brush her teeth, she absolutely adores being able to brush her own teeth. You can see her with a toothbrush in her mouth on any given day, just hanging out pretending to brush. Just pretend brushing isn’t enough. She always goes into the bathroom and begs for the tube of toothpaste, so that she could be just like us. She then pretend “applies” the paste on her brush ( she doesn’t actually squeeze anything out) and goes on brushing.
Flouride or no flouride
There’s a big debate over the fact that we are over-fluoridated with fluoride being both in our water supply and pastes and that is actually pretty bad for our bodies in those amounts because it accumulates. I firmly believe that fluoride IS important, however like with anything there’s gotta be a balance. The way we achieve that balance is having a RO filter on our water, but brushing our teeth with fluoride toothpaste. I have also started cooking things that we drain before serving ( like pasta) in non-filtered water for that reason, too. So I feel that between toothpaste and some cooking water, we aren’t going overboard on fluoridating.
Since Lexi doesn’t eat dairy products, there is a concern about enough calcium in her system for strong bones and teeth. I ensure she has plenty of that by nursing her often, cooking kale, spinach, broccoli, as well as ( and this is super nontraditional) sardines with bones – they have crazy awesome amount of calcium and bones are very soft and get crushed with the fish in the meal.
Our almond milk has added calcium as well and she eats her cereal with that ( not enough to really count it, though). Once she weans off of breastmilk, I will take a closer look at her calcium consumption and possibly introduce yogurt. I’ve been hesitant about doing it (aside from the fact that we don’t regularly eat dairy ourselves), because it appears (not confirmed) that every time she’d eat a dairy product she’d break out in a little rash. It’s not a clear link, but that’s something I sort of noticed.
Tooth brushing Gear
Toothbrushes: I love MAM products when it comes to oral care. They have some great toothbrushes and really good teethers, especially for the older crowd. For Easter I got her a set of toothbrushes from MAM: a short toddler brush and one with a long handle for the parent and child to hold together for better control over toothbrush ( not that she even lets me do that yet). I would highly recommend these: great quality and last a long time without getting all nasty looking. She loved both of them so much, she wouldn’t let go of them the whole evening.
Silicone Brushes: These are more for fun than actual brushing, but we got some Kushies silicone brushes and they are actually better than the banana brush we used to have. The bristles are stronger and don’t fall off so easily. This is a perfect brush for smaller babies and toddlers who want something to chew on and it cleans their teeth in the meantime.
Toothpaste: I remember the day I found out that toothpastes have SLS in them. Whaaat? Since then we’ve been using nothing but Tom’s Clean & Gentle with Flouride. We actually have it on Subscribe and Save service on Amazon, so it comes automatically in a pack of 2 every few months (Love that service btw!)
That’s pretty much it.