So your baby now has a tooth!  Let’s jump back to right before that first tooth came in and talk about teething.  Like most things, teething can be different in each baby.  Some babies don’t experience any difficulties with teething, and some have many difficulties.  Teething usually begins 3-5 days before the tooth actually breaks through the gums.  Fussiness can be a part of the soreness and swelling that they experience just before teeth erupt.  Constantly chewing on something relieves the pressure from the swelling (fingers, teething rings).  These teething rings worked well for Morgan (if you don’t remember, our 15 month old).  There are many different kinds, but the majority have either water or gel.  We liked the gel one because you can put it in the freezer, where the water ones you should only put them in the refrigerator (so the gel lasts longer).  We also used a pain reliever at nights.  Motrin or Tylenol are the two pain relievers you want to use.  Avoid aspirin until they are older than 20 years, as aspirin is linked to Reye’s Syndrome.  As a parent, we thought Morgan was teething for about 4 months, but I will say that the few days before her tooth came in she was MUCH DIFFERENT then the previous days.  There are other remedies for teething, but these were the ones we used for her and these seem to be the safest (besides doing nothing of course).

So your child has teeth and HATES brushing them.  Well, let’s talk about ways to get them to brush.  The best way is to start them early.  The American Dental Association recommends brushing or wiping your baby’s gums within the first few days after birth.  I think this is a great idea, as it gets them used to the routine.  Wiping their mouth does a few things: gets rid of plaque (the bacteria in your mouth from food and drink), gets them used to having a clean mouth, and gets them used to you cleaning their teeth.
Another way to help get your child to brush better is to make it fun!  Isn’t everything better when it’s fun!  I remember having to pick up apples from our apple tree when I was little.  I would pretend I was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and would try to throw strikes into the garbage can on the other side of the yard.  Or I would use a hockey stick and try to shoot them in the can.  We sing the “Brush Your Teeth” song.  In fact, she now makes the ch-ch-ch-ch sound when she wants to brush.  This has worked well for us!
A good tasting toothpaste will help, although Morgan sometimes just sucks on her toothbrush instead of brushing because it’s a bubble gum flavored toothpaste….yummy!  Also a fun toothbrush will help, maybe of their favorite superhero, or a light-up brush.  These are just a few ideas I’ll throw out there to help get your children brushing.

So, from the first baby tooth all the way to the first adult tooth is a long time.  Thumb sucking and using a pacifier will be the next topic.  These are both soothing techniques for your baby.  They also can help them fall asleep at night.  Depending on how vigorous a “sucker” your child is, can play a role in how much it can affect their mouth.  Flaring of their front teeth and raising the height of the roof of their mouth are the main problems associated with these habits.  If an orthodontist ends up having to straighten their teeth when they are older, it can result in a much more difficult treatment for you, your child, and the treating orthodontist.  Most babies stop this habit between 2-4.  The BIG problems happen when adult teeth begin to erupt and they are still sucking their thumb, or using a pacifier.  Praising your child for NOT doing these things is usually the best way to rid the habit, not scolding them for doing it.  That is sometimes tougher to do and definitely requires patience, but is more rewarding for your child.
Well, I don’t want to make this too long.  Next, I’ll go through emergencies while they are growing up.  What happens if teeth get knocked out, or chipped?  Toothaches?

We would LOVE to hear other ways you either got your child to brush better, or eliminating the pacifier or thumb-sucking.  There are SO MANY different ways to do it.  Thanks for reading,  and if you have any questions, please leave a comment or email me at