How to Care for Your Squirmy Toddler's Teeth

How to Care for Your Squirmy Toddler's Teeth 1You may recall that I interviewed Pediatric Dentist Michael Hanna, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, in late November to bring you tips about caring for your baby's teeth. This is a follow-up post for moms who are still struggling to make brushing teeth a part of their family's routine...perhaps due to a toddler's "squirminess" or resistance.

As a quick reminder, babies should have their teeth brushed twice a day pretty much as soon as teeth appear and should visit a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday.

If you find that your baby is resistant to the toothbrush, you might want to try Spiffies Tooth Wipes, a convenient disposable wipe that parents can use "anytime or clean baby's teeth." Created by Dr. Ray Wagner, a pediatrician who practices in Southern Arizona, Spiffies are made with parents in mind.

Here's another "made-up" interview (I came up with the questions; the Spiffies website delivered the answers).

Q. Does brushing really matter for babies? After all, those baby teeth are going to fall out anyway...
A. "Cavity causing bacteria live in plaque around the teeth. Once the bacteria become established in the baby's mouth, they become difficult to remove. In fact, most children with early childhood tooth decay transfer this infection to their permanent teeth."

Q. Are the wipes really as effective as a toothbrush?
A. "A recent clinical study showed that Spiffies are as effective as brushing for removing dental plaque from baby teeth. In addition, this study demonstrated that both moms and babies preferred the wipes to brushing, especially before bedtime."

Q. I brush my baby's teeth, but I sometimes forget to brush and/or floss and/or go to the dentist regularly myself. How will this effect my baby?
A. "Mom and Dad can transmit cavity causing bacteria to baby when they kiss their baby, or taste food with the same spoon the baby uses."

Spiffies Wipes come in three different flavors: Mango, Grape, and Apple...and are designed for children four months and older.

Surprisingly, my daughter doesn't mind getting her teeth "spiffied" at all. I give her gums and teeth a good wipe-down for bed as part of our routine and it seems to work out nicely.

I let my daughter brush her own teeth in the morning because she LOVES brushing her teeth. She often points at her toothbrush and wants to brush, brush, brush...especially when my husband and I are brushing ours (another good reason to make your own dental hygiene a priority - toddlers love to copy their moms). For us, the wipes are a convenience item - perfect for travel or times when we're on-the-go, but not necessary for every day use. But some parents might find that they want to use them every day, twice-a-day.

Spiffies are sold at a variety of retailers across the U.S.

How to Care for Your Squirmy Toddler's Teeth 2WIN IT! One winner will receive 3 boxes of Spiffies, along with a small booklet entitled The Baby Tooth Care Guide. To enter, simply leave a comment and your e-mail address on this post prior to Tuesday, Jan. 15, at midnight. The winner will be contacted and announced on Wednesday, Jan. 16. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

* UPDATE * The winner is #29 Becca. Congratulations!

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145 comments on “How to Care for Your Squirmy Toddler's Teeth”

  1. What a cool product. My daughter got her first two teeth at 15.5 months old, and now at 16.5 months, she only has 4. I need to start brushing them, and this product looks like an easy way to do it.

  2. i brush my toddlers teeth, but then we give her milk at bed so these would help a lot. just wipe them down after she sleeps.
    bwalleshauser at yahoo dot com

  3. I have never heard of this....very cool review/giveaway. Thanks for the info and direction towards the site.


  4. These would be interesting to try - maybe my baby wouldn't bite my finger so hard with these as he does with the finger brush. Ouch!

  5. thank you for sharing this product with us! my dd has eaten tooth paste on an occasion and this would definately eliminate that problem from reoccuring.

  6. This is so great! My little one has a hard time! It usually takes a good 10 minutes to brush his teeth! cookiecutter72 AT hotmail DOT com

  7. How interesting that my daughter and I were just today discussing her 7 months old 2 new teeth. I told her to make sure and brush them or wipe them off with a washcloth daily never knowing a product like this existed. These would be perfect for my Granddaughter!

  8. Awesome! I would not have to keep dropping hints about dental care to my family members! Just hand them a box or 2 of these sweeties!

  9. Why is brushing teeth such a big deal to little people? anything would be worth a try. Thanks for the awesome contest!

  10. Oh! I just received wird that my grandbaby is getting her two front teeth. Please add my name to the drawing pool for these!

  11. I have an infant who has been teething for a while now...just waiting on the teeth to pop out. I am so glad I read this post. I'll have to get me some of these!!

    Count me in on this contest!

    [email protected]

  12. this would be cool to try. My daughter is hot and cold when it comes to brushing teeth. I was talking to a good friend who is a dental specialist recently, who told me you should never force a child under 3 to floss (I was telling him I read an article that said you should floss your kids teeth as soon as they have 2 side by side!!). He said it's more important for the kid to not fear flossing than to floss the baby teeth (wait for their big teeth he said). Anyhow, thought I would pass along that tidbit....I was shocked an article reccomended flossing a toddlers teeth...are you kidding me? As if they would stand for that!! :)

  13. I just wanted to say I completely agree with the need for early care of gums and baby teeth! I hadn't ever seen studies on this, but my dentist would concur! I was adopted from Korea when I was seven months old, and have had to have several teeth pulled in my teenage years because my baby teeth and "first set" of permanent teeth were in bad shape due to malnutrition and poor cleaning in my first 7 months. Good thing I had another set of permanent teeth come in!

  14. Where do you find these things? Could definitely come in handy for the baby and possibly also my less-than-stellar brushing daughter...

  15. I've never heard of these before, but they sound like a life-saver, er, teeth-saver. My 9-month-old has seven now, but just chomps down any time I try to get the toothbrush in her mouth. Maybe I'd have more luck with a wipe.

  16. oh, I would really like to have these! I would love to try it out with Maddie!

    Thanks for another great contest, Stephanie!

  17. I've also read that gum-brushing is important before teeth erupt. Teething pain can be caused by bacteria and brushing will get rid of this and help limit night waking from tooth pain. I'd love to give these a try!

    normanfam at gmail dot com

  18. I have a 2 year old and brushing his teeth is like wrestling an alligator. I'm willing to try just about anything!!!

  19. I have a toddler that needs wrangling when it comes to teeth brushing time - these would be great to try! sj1026 at gmail dot com.

  20. I've never heard of anything like this! Would love to try them out with Eve, she hates the tooth brush, but loves it when I take a washcloth to her teeth.

  21. I love the idea of this product, but there is no way I would stick my finger in my toddler's mouth - LOL! She is at the age, however, where we can give her a Spin Brush and sing Raffi's toothbrush song, and she will do a good job. We let her take a turn first, and then she knows she has to let us have a turn, too. But I can see how these wipes would be great for parents who don't know they should clean little teeth. And they're gentle, too.

    Don't enter me in the contest - I think someone else would find these more useful (although I definitely like it!!).

  22. Joe loves the toothbrush-. I didnt know that it was after 1 to go to the dentist- always thought it was after 3. Good to know. Thanks for the chance!

  23. These sound so cool! My toddler brushes her own teeth a lot as well. Sometimes she clamps her lips tight, and I just can't wedge the toothbrush in her mouth. I try to make it as much fun as possible. Oh boy, what an adventure sometimes! I do sing a little toothbrush ditty I made up while we brush. I read recently some kids love electric toothbrushes, so I picked up a bright Elmo electric. It is so cute, but it scares the pants off my toddler when it's on! She'll carry it around like a toy when off, though. I totally need to take her to the dentist--thank you for the reminder!!

  24. Hello, What a super idea! I think not only would toddlers benefit, but what about a child wearing braces? Thanks for the contest! Cindi

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