Ask Our Expert: Easy Ways to Teach Teeth Brushing
Posted by ANDREA YIU
"Sure, toothbrushing is important oral hygiene, but did you know it also helps with feeding development?⠀
A damp piece of sterile gauze works great before then to wipe off baby’s gums, where bacteria can grow, but at about 2 months of age, you can get off to a great start with a finger brush. ⠀
Important: We want it to be pleasurable since it’s the first step to learning to use a toothbrush and discovering how to move the tongue in response to anything in the mouth. Here’s the easiest way to start, using the finger brush that⠀
comes with every @grabease double-sided toothbrush:⠀
👉🏾Divide the mouth into 4 parts, starting on the lower jaw at the corner of baby’s smile. ⠀
👉🏻Stroke toward the center of baby’s mouth – and stop. You might see baby’s tongue move toward the brush too – that’s the lateral tongue reflex we need for learning to eat, and you’re practicing that movement with gum massage! If baby appears comfortable & curious, do the same on the other side & the upper gums too.
👉🏾Remember to use consistent pressure. Over time, baby will adjust to the new sensation, but for now, don’t cross midline as it can be a bit overwhelming at first.
👉🏻Read baby’s cues & you’ll be able to massage in one direction from one corner of her smile to another & then back again, with time.
At 6 months or when the first tooth appears, graduate to the grabease double-sided toothbrush, following the steps in the post. Because you started early & you kept it pleasurable & fun, this next step should go quite smoothly. ❤️"
Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, is an international speaker on the topic of feeding babies to teens. She is the co-author of the award-winning Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater and Adventures in Veggieland plus three other books for both parents & children. Melanie’s advice has been shared in a variety of television and print media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN.com and Parents Magazine. Contact her at www.MelaniePotock.com for more articles, professional tips, and helpful videos to raise your adventurous eater and follow Mel on Instagram and Facebook too!