Our adorable grandson Robin is 2 1/2 years old and lives in Pennsylvania. With my husband Allan being a dentist, naturally, we are interested in the care of Robin’s mouth and teeth, so I asked our son for a refresher on what oral care they have given Robin since his birth.
Before any of his teeth arrived, during his earliest baby days, Robin’s pediatrician advised Mom and Dad that they use a damp washcloth moistened with plain water to wipe his gums, once a day before bedtime. When a few teeth began to arrive, when he was about 6 months old, the pediatrician recommended that parents use an infant toothbrush for him to chew on and get used to that feeling in his mouth, again once a day before bedtime. Mom and Dad could also start with a tiny amount–about the size of a grain of rice–of baby toothpaste (which is safe if swallowed) on the toothbrush. (Note: Because they live in an area with no natural fluoride in their drinking water, their pediatrician prescribed fluoride drops for Robin, and therefore, toothpaste without added fluoride.)
When he was about a year old and had several teeth, Mom and Dad took him to a pediatric dentist, where he sat in Mom’s lap, miraculously sat still, and opened his mouth! Mom and/or Dad have even started flossing his teeth once a day with a children’s flosser! Robin likes to help them, and they usually let him start and play with it in his mouth, and then they finish up. Likewise, at that age, he liked to chew on the toothbrush, and sometimes they had to distract him so that he would open his mouth. After a short time of him trying to brush, they would step in and finish up more thoroughly for him.
Now, at the ripe old age of 2 1/2, he can brush his teeth pretty well, but again with supervision from Mom and/or Dad. He brushes two times a day, once before school and once before bedtime. He uses a slightly firmer (but still soft) toddler toothbrush now, and since he no longer takes the fluoride drops, he uses a fluoridated toddler toothpaste. He’s also practicing spitting in the sink, which is always fun, after watching and imitating Mom and Dad!
So, he’s hopefully learning some good oral care habits from his parents that will follow him as he grows. What a big guy he’s getting to be–naturally, we grandparents are so proud!