Brushing teeth. Gabi was intubated for a long long time as a baby. This means nasty suctioning- in her nose and mouth, mouth cleaning with mouthwash and a sponge by different nurses in her face. Then she had a ng tube (feeding tube) down her throat for quite some time before her G tube was placed. All of these tubes required tape; the kind of tape that needs to be peeled off your skin every few days to clean. She never ate by mouth… ever. She never had a bottle… ever. She never had comfort in or around her mouth… ever. It was tape and tubes and gagging… for months… years. And now that she is 3 and is trying so hard to eat for pleasure, she is doing really great, but to touch her mouth, in and around, is still not a pleasurable experience for her. She has no idea why, she can’t remember, or explain but putting on chap stick, wiping her face, and god for bid we try and brush those teeth!
I am surprised that she doesn’t repell everyone away with bad breath… but her breath is still as sweet as a baby. However, her teeth are scuzzy and I can’t clean them. She locks those lips and shakes her noggin so that I can’t even force it. Of course, we’re not total newbies, we try the “Gabi, you want to do it yourself?” trickery.That doesn’t work. We try having her siblings do it and pretend like they are enjoying themselves tremendously while brushing their teeth. We’ve tried all the different characters of toothbrushes… from Elmo, Diego, Disney Princesses, Little Mermaid, Dora, Barney… We’ve tried all the different flavors of toothpaste. Bubblegum, Strawberry, mint… nothing is working.
She had to go to the dentist before her surgery in the summer and that was no picnic. The dentist had to force her mouth open just to look. He managed to clean a few teeth and I heard the gagging begin and I warned him that she will throw up on him. He seemed confident enough not to back away. Not sure if he didn’t believe me, but she let him have it.. all over his coat and tray. I warned him.
My kids’ teeth are fairly clean. Tom’s teeth get the most yellow and I literally have to scratch the plaque off his front teeth. But mostly, they are good about brushing at least twice a day. Not sure how to help Gabi with her teeth brushing. I am going to assume that we’ll just keep trying and eventually she will join in with the family teeth brushing. At least they’re just baby teeth.