Ever since Maggie’s first teeth came through, we have had the same routine. After breakfast, and before bedtime, we brush our teeth.

Maggie is given a toothbrush, with some toothpaste, and expected to brush her own teeth. If she does a good job of brushing all her teeth (with an evolving view of what a “good job” entails), we rinse and are done. If she does not, I move in and do a thorough job, with all the screaming, kicking, and crying that entails.

All seemed well with this approach. A routine is being developed, and Maggie is a little person who brushes her teeth regularly. And then I had the misfortune of reading the following passage in What to Expect – The Toddler Years:

Give your toddler his own brush to do some preliminary brushing … Then do it yourself.

Moreover, the entire passage on toothbrushing implies that allowing a child to brush her own teeth the majority of the time is a strategy that will doom her to a childhood of tooth decay. Which makes me the Parent of Doom.

Where before I was a parent happy that his daughter was developing good habits that would lead to healthy adult teeth, in the full knowledge that her temporary milk teeth might get an otherwise “unnecessary” cavity or two, I am now a parent full of self-doubt, wondering if I have made a big mistake.

Going back now will be a difficult course. One does not easily wrest control back from a two-year-old, once it has been given away. And we are due to visit the dentist soon, and gain some invaluable professional advice.

In the meantime, Internet, I turn to you:

What approach would you take with these teeth?

One thought on “The dental dilemma

  1. Well, I think that if your gorgeous daughter is happy doing her own teeth, let her. Show her how to do it best, but let her do it. That will build the habit of doing it twice a day, every day, for the rest of her life.

    And she can be proud of herself, too. It’s a winner.

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