Dental Problems in Twins

When your twins start teething, you may not automatically think about taking them to the dentist. But, you don't want to wait too long! What are some common dental problems with twins and what can you do to help prevent them? Plus, we'll discuss the practicality of brushing (and flossing) their teeth twice a day and what to expect during those initial trips to see the dentist!

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Episode Transcript

Twin Talks
Dental Problems in Twins


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

DR. VINCENT TU: Did you know that research shows that kids who wait to see the dentist until they're 2-3 years old are more likely to have more subsequent visits to the dentist for care? We know that when twin babies first experience teething, many parents are busy focusing on the challenges of managing pain and new feeding patterns, and try to get some sleep for themselves. The care of those new teeth is often overlooked until the children are much older and big opportunity has been missed. I'm Vincent Tu, a pediatric dentist at My Kids' Dentist and orthodontist in Vista, California. And I'm here to talk about common dental problems in twins and what we can do to prevent them. This is Twin Talks.

[Intro/Theme Music]

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Welcome to Twin Talks broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. Twin Talks is your weekly online, on-the-go support group for expecting and new parents of twins. I'm your host, Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald.

Have you joined the Twin Talks club? Our members get bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts. Visit our website and subscribe to our Twin Talks newsletter to learn about the latest episodes available. And be sure to download our free Twin Talks app, available on the Android, iTunes and Windows Marketplace.

Before we get started, we're going to introduce our panelists in the room. And I'm going to turn this over to Sunny over here.

SUNNY GAULT: Hi everybody, I'm Sunny and I'm producing today's show but I'm also a twin mama myself. I have 4 kids total. My oldest is 5 now in kindergarten. His name is Sayer. My middle guy is Irvin, he's 3 years old. And then I have identical twin girls, Acelyn and Addison who are turning 2 next week. Big milestone right? And they just went to the dentist about a month ago or something for the first time.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And our expert, Dr. Tu, you want to tell us a little bit about your family, yourself?

DR. VINCENT TU: Sure. I don't have any kids just yet but my wife for 3 years. My mom who's a postpartum nurse has been bugging us to have kids for over 3 years. At least 3 years. So yes, we're starting to talk about having kids.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And you're at pediatrics so you're around kids all the time. And I can imagine, you're seeing the best and the worst of behavior.

DR. VINCENT TU: Absolutely.

SUNNY GAULT: It's a training I think to be very well prepared.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And I'm your host, Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald and I've got 3 girls. My twins are 6 years old and one of them just had her first cavity filled.

SUNNY GAULT: Oh really?

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Yes, yes. And she actually was pretty good. She did it without the nitrous oxide.

SUNNY GAULT: So some topical stuff? What did they do?

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Well yes, they did put the topical and then—but a lot of kids, they kind of get a little bit anxious—and so the gas, the laughing gas basically, it just helps calm them. It’s more of a calming. It's not like an anesthetic. It's just helps them relax.

SUNNY GAULT: And it's not like some people actually laugh when they're given the laughing gas.

DR. VINCENT TU: No. not usually.

SUNNY GAULT: I don't know. It's a silly kind of name for it. But yes it really does calms you, relaxes you a little bit.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And you know what I heard that laughing gas is now being used in labor.

DR. VINCENT TU: Oh yes. I've heard that too actually.

SUNNY GAULT: Yes, we talked about that I think in one of our shows.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: I haven't tried it. Maybe I should.

SUNNY GAULT: I think all parents need some laughing gas, just like next to their bedside. Like before you go to bed.


DR. VINCENT TU: All parents ask that the whole time. They always say I need it more than the kid.

SUNNY GAULT: We're on to something here.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Yes oh and I can't forget, I do have now a 3 year old and she's a pretty good sport so I get to say she holds up around.

SUNNY GAULT: I can't believe she's already 3. Wow. My girls are 2, yours must be 3 because you were pregnant before me. Time flies.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Alright. So before we continue to kick off today's show about dental problems in twins, I found a pretty cool app I think you guys might like. I actually just did some searching on iTunes. If you guys have iPad or iPhone, this might be something you’re interested in. So it's called the Brush Up App. And it's really fun. It's based around this little monster and I think his name is Budd. B-U-D-D I think. But he's kind of fun. You can kind of see him here. And if you guys go on our website, we have some images and stuff you can check out.

And so you enter your child's basic information: name, birthday—I don't really know why they need all that information. But you create a profile for your child. And then what happens is—you can have multiple profiles. And then when your kids are getting ready to brush their teeth—I haven’t quite figured this out, if they hold it—I think you have to hold it for them. But anyways, the idea is I'm going to place them—I'm actually going to start—

So there's this little blue guy. You can picture this little blue guy with gunk all over his teeth right now. And then it's got this little window thing right next to it where the child can see themselves brushing their teeth. So you see this little blue monster guy and he's got yucky stuff all over his teeth. And it says hey, line this up so you can see yourself in the window, so you do that.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Oh, so it's using the camera and it looks like they're looking in the mirror.

SUNNY GAULT: it's supposed to look like this little blue guy is looking at them, watching them brushing their teeth. So I did this with my 5 year old this morning and it was kind of cool. Like I was holding it for him because when they're little, they kind of need all hands to—they're not that coordinated yet. But it's fun. I don't know if you guys can hear the music. But it was fun because you're kind of looking at it and as this little blue guy is brushing his teeth, he's brushing the same teeth. And they're instructing you. I don't know if I can turn this up. So he's going through the whole mouth. And then once they brush an area, it gets cleaned. And it does the same thing. It goes on outside of the teeth and then the inside too.

So after my son did this, I asked him what do you think about this, he said, "I really liked it except it was a little long". I didn't time it but I think it probably is like 2 minutes. He was like it's really long and I think oh it probably means you're not brushing your teeth efficiently.

So anyway kind of a cute app. It's free to download. Once they do brush their teeth—you can keep it as the free version. But once they brush their teeth, they can get rewards and points. You can change backgrounds and do stuff like that. You can subscribe and there's bonus stuff and whatever. You can make it a $10 app if you wanted it to be but it doesn't have to be. You could just keep that free version and just kind of have that cool music. Just like jam into it in the bathroom, more like I can do this. So anyways, I just want to get some feedbacks as to what you guys thought.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: You know I could say I like the fact it's got the visuals. Because to me it seems like you can really see it. Because it's really hard to describe that to kids.


DR. VINCENT TU: I think 2 minutes is a long time too. It's like you're entertaining them for two minutes, it definitely helps out a lot.

SUNNY GAULT: I think we need a dance when we do it or something. Even in 2 minutes with the little blue monster, my son, after a minute, he was like, "Okay mom. Can I spit?"

Anyways, we'll put a link on our website if you guys want to check it out. Fun app.

[Theme Music]

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Well we're here today with Vincent Tu who's here to talk about common dental problems in twins. Thanks for joining us Dr. Tu.

DR. VINCENT TU: Thank you for having me.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Alright. Before we get started, we should tell everyone how we met.

SUNNY GAULT: Oh the funny story. This is funny.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Yes. My girls see Dr. Tu and we were talking about some of the different problems and why you see them in twins, and we were planning for the show. And then Sunny here, the day before, she says, wait. It's Dr. Tu?

SUNNY GAULT: My kids' dentist? And I'm putting 2 and 2 together and I'm like, we were just there a month ago with my twins for the first time. My crazy twins that were like crying constantly.

DR. VINCENT TU: They did really good.

SUNNY GAULT: It's just a small world. Because I remember being in there for our appointment and I remember talking about this episode—not with Dr. Tu but with you prior. And I'm like oh Dr. Tu would have been such a good person to have on this show. And then Christine was obviously reading my mind, contacted him and then we're here today.

DR. VINCENT TU: That's awesome.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: I have to say, dental problems—it's not the sexiest topic and there are so many parenting topics and I think a lot of us parents, we think we know what dental care is all about. And so I think it's often really overlooked. And I think sometimes parents get it. Like okay, kids get their teeth; it's not a big deal. They’re baby teeth, they're going to fall out. So I mean why should we even be concerned with young children's teeth? They're going to fall out.

DR. VINCENT TU: That's a really good question. That’s a question I get asked all the time. So the thing is kids don't lose their molars until they're about 10-12 years old. So it's pretty important to try to keep those guys as healthy as you can. Baby teeth maintain a space for adult teeth to kind of come in to. So if we lose our baby teeth at an early age, we get a lot of space lost. And in return, we have to place a lot of space maintenance—devices that kind of go in to the mouth and makes brushing even harder at times.

So it's really important to try to fix them, to maintain oral health, to decrease any bacteria that can cause other problems down the line, reduce them in your mouth, because cavity is actually a bacterial problem too. We can actually transfer that bacteria from sibling to sibling as well.


DR. VINCENT TU: Yes, Absolutely. It's kind of crazy. A lot of parents or people in general don't think about cavities as being a major bacterial issue, as infections in your teeth.


DR. VINCENT TU: Yes, it's pretty crazy.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: With twins too. I mean twins share everything.

SUNNY GAULT: Even toothbrushes.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Yes. And babies and we're talking about feeding and sharing spoons and toys. And when they're really little they’re mouthing everything. So they can actually transfer bacteria from their mouth to—

DR. VINCENT TU: Exactly. So the number one form of transfer of bacteria is actually from parents. We call that vertical transfer of bacteria. And so basically, what happens is that parents have cavities in their own mouths. We have a higher percentage of bacteria that can cause cavities which are the strep mutants. So basically we could transfer that particular bacterium to our kids at a younger age. And when kids don't have a heck of a lot of a different type of bacteria in their mouth, they're going to have a higher quantity of that particular bacterium that can cause cavity, making you at higher risk of forming cavities. And so sharing foods with your kids isn't necessarily always the best idea.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Oh my gosh. So when we take a bite of something and then we hand it to our—I never would have thought

SUNNY GAULT: No. We're doing them to disturb us right?

DR. VINCENT TU: Absolutely. A lot of times it's testing out a bottle of milk that you warmed up in the microwave with your own mouth to make sure it's not too hot. Or a lot of times when you have a lot of kids after a while, taking up a pacifier, cleaning off with your mouth isn't as disgusting as you would think it is. But a lot of friends do that. So transferring your own bacteria is trying to minimize the transfer of bacteria is going to be best.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Wow. Okay so now we're talking about kids fairly young and about getting this bacteria and the possibility of getting cavities. So when should parents start taking their kids to the dentist?

DR. VINCENT TU: Okay, so our researches show now that if we start our dental visits early, we actually reduce the chance of getting cavities. And so right now our recommendation is actually at 12 months of age and establishing what we call a dental home. So just like how you have a medical home for your kids at a pediatrician office, it's really important to establish a dental home as well.

The importance of that is not only to bring your kids so you can talk about cavity prevention but it's also someone to call if you have any trauma issues at home. Because kids do fall pretty often and so when they hurt their front teeth and you're really scared and you bring them to the emergency room. Emergency room doctors don't really necessarily know what they're talking about when it comes to teeth issues. And so basically having that phone call to someone you can call up on any issues you have is important.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And so we take the kids at 12 months of age. At that point, maybe they have 6 teeth or something. I don't know.

DR. VINCENT TU: No, it’s true.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: I'm assuming they're not getting the same kind of treatment as an adult would. I mean what do you usually do in that checkup?

DR. VINCENT TU: At that checkup, I always tell parents the first visit is always a lot of talking. And so we definitely go through cavity prevention and including a lot of stuff that we talked about—what to watch out for, what to anticipate as the kids get older. We talked about like pacifier uses, thumb-sucking, different habits that we have, plans that we have to put in place to try to stop those bad habits.

Because having these oral habits could definitely move teeth around a lot more than you think it could. Yes, because when we're younger, our bones are just very soft and they mold around to different habits that we have. And so we get a lot of issues with oral habits such as cross bites, which is when your top jaw is actually a bit smaller than your bottom jaw and they don’t fit together very well. And or we could get a lot of anterior open bites which is when the front teeth don't touch each other.

And so when we're older and we have those kinds of issues such as when we're like 6, 7 years old, a lot of times we won't be able to pronounce our words correctly and automatically have a lisp when your front teeth don't touch.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Yes, that would do it. I just want to say, when the kids are really little, I’ll just say I remember when my girls were tiny and I took them to the dental office, it was tough with twins. A lot of parents out there imagine they got two kids, and how do you actually, physically do that at the office?

DR. VINCENT TU: When they're really little, I like to do a knee to knee exam. Basically me and the parents are putting our knees together forming a little bed for the patient to lay down on. So I would have the patient's head in my lap and basically take a good look as best as I can. I always tell parents that the more they cry, the wider their mouths are open and actually could see much better.

SUNNY GAULT: My girls are wailing. It's like no, no, no. this is a good thing.

DR. VINCENT TU: Absolutely. Kids are very cooperative. Even sometimes at 2 years of age or a year and a half where they're trying to follow directions and not cry, I don't get the best exam. So I could see much better when the kids are crying.

SUNNY GAULT: And bring two people. Will that help?

DR. VINCENT TU: Yes, that's very true. If you can't that's okay. Our staff is—we are always there to try to assist as best as we can because we're a pediatric dental office. So we're used to crying.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And I can say personally that the dental assistants in the pediatric office have been just absolutely stellar—entertaining one twin while one's getting examined. I mean they just get it.

DR. VINCENT TU: Absolutely.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: I really appreciate that. Let's talk more about the twins and what you see. And you said you've seen a lot of twins. So what are some of these conditions that you see has some kind of commonality among twins. I heard you talk about hyper fluoridation?

DR. VINCENT TU: yes, so a lot of times, by the time I see the kids, it's kind of too late. So every time I would see a twin mom, I always know that they’re in groups and so they talk to other twin moms. So I always tell parents that a lot of times that we see is fluoridation caused by infant formula. And so when we have the powder form—if in formula, a lot of those brands actually have a lot of fluoride already in the powder form.


DR. VINCENT TU: Yes, absolutely. And so when you use regular water or tap water or any type of water that has fluoride in it, we can end up having extra amount of fluoride into the infant formula. And so when we have more fluoride than we anticipate a lot of times we could do is those fluoride will actually get incorporated into the tooth structure and we could get fluorosis. So fluorosis is not necessarily a bad thing.

When we have a mild amount of fluorosis, it's actually pretty good because it actually makes your teeth stronger and we will actually see less cavities on those teeth. However, we end up seeing white spots on these teeth so aesthetically, it could be less pleasing. And sometimes parents don't really love that. So make sure that we're using distilled water when we make infant formula. And so that would decrease the chance of cavity fluorosis on to their permanent teeth at this rate.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: So usually then it would only affect their baby teeth if it’s as a result of infant formula?

DR. VINCENT TU: No it also affects permanent dentition, adult teeth.


DR. VINCENT TU: Yes absolutely. So the interesting thing is that our baby teeth are actually formed in utero. So they actually start forming at 4 months of age. So that depends on what mom was having at that time on to teeth formation. Where as permanent teeth start right at birth. So anything that the kids are having right at birth is what affects the adult dentition.


SUNNY GAULT: That's fascinating. I had no clue.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: So if I get this right, the formation of the baby teeth is really due to mom, prenatal nutrition.

SUNNY GAULT: Starting at 4 months

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: 4 months of age. So that means when we're pregnant, we need to make sure we're getting good nutrition. Is there anything that you recommend as far as nutrition that we should really look for?

DR. VINCENT TU: Most physicians just recommend balanced diet, taking your prenatal vitamins and that kind of stuff. I think that's enough. That's all you really need to do. But when you have twins, you have to double dosages sometimes right? You're forming 2 sets of teeth at the same time.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And then when they're babies and getting formula, then we want to make sure we're using the distilled water because that affects their permanent teeth.

DR. VINCENT TU: Absolutely.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Okay, my mind is spinning right now.

SUNNY GAULT: A lot of responsibility before they're born.

DR. VINCENT TU: Yes because your teeth don't actually come in until you're 6 years old but they start forming right at birth.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: wow. And does this also affect general enamel formation as well?

DR. VINCENT TU: Yes it does. There are actually a lot of factors that affect enamel formation. Fluoride is one of them. A lot of times when we're sick, when we're little as well, it could actually affect the way our permanent teeth are forming. So we could get a little bit of weaker enamel. Unfortunately that's something that we're seeing more often in the whole population in general where our first molars or we call 6 year molars, they have hypo calcified areas.

Sometimes the teeth have what we call a modeled look to it. So they have brown spots onto the teeth and so a lot of times what happens is that adult’s teeth is just a little bit weaker, and sometimes fall apart a little bit more. So infant health is really important because it can affect your teeth as well.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Is there anything we should be doing as parents for that?

DR. VINCENT TU: Nothing out of the norm. Having kids is hard and having twins is even harder. And so a lot of times, it could be viral stuff that happens. If we get sick and we're really little, sometimes it affects the way our teeth are forming because at that time when you're really sick, your body is worrying about other things, fighting infection. And so sometimes fighting the—making sure that the teeth are formed properly or sometimes people are thinking maybe the virus is actually attacking the tooth structure itself and affecting the way it's forming. And so it's hard to say at this point. But there's not a lot of research out there at this point so we're not really sure what's going on.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: So we just know keep them healthy as much as we can just so it does not affect the dental health. Alright. We're going to take a break and when we come back, we're going to talk about the practicalities for parents in helping their twins establish good dental care.

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[Theme Music]

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Welcome back. Today we're talking with Vincent Tu who’s helping us learn what we can do to help our kids prevent dental problems and give us ideas on how to do it with twins. So let's talk about the practicalities of dental care. I mean you got multiple kids. It's tough to get them all lined up and care—oh my gosh. It's hard enough to get them—

SUNNY GAULT: In the car

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: In the car. Would you have any suggestions? What do you do to establish a good routine?

DR. VINCENT TU: It's all about habits right? And so as you just said, if we get into a good routine, it's—every family's different about it. Some of our friends what they really do is they have the line approach. They just have the kids lined up in front of them, they go from one to the next and just basically just go to town and do all the kids at the same time. You know it's just important to make sure they're brushing all their teeth.

A lot of times with kids we get different personalities. One kid would be much easier than the other one to get the cleaning done on. So unfortunately once in a while I’ll see actually the opposite of what most people would think. It’s actually the kid who gives mom a hard time actually has less cavities because mom is brushing their teeth very, very thoroughly because it's so hard to actually get in there all the time. And the really good kid keeps getting cavities because getting into their mouths is easier. And so the mom would think

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: they'd slack off a little bit.

DR. VINCENT TU: You know you don't have to go in as rough maybe to kind of get all the teeth nice and clean. But I haven’t really seen a super good trend on everything. It's just in general. You just want to be very thorough. You want to make sure all the teeth are brushed and you want to brush for two minutes, make sure we're using fluoride toothpaste for kids, you want to use a pea sized amount for kids who spit well. And for kids who don't spit well you want to use the right size or a smear amount of toothpaste because when they're swallowing that fluoride from the toothpaste, a small smear of toothpaste is very insignificant in the amount of fluoride so it's perfectly safe to swallow.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Okay. Now that's good to know. Now I’m wondering. So now we’re talking of stand in line style, when the kids are little, the parent is brushing their teeth for them. So at what age do you think can the kids start doing it themselves? My 3 year old, my singleton, she watches her sisters because she’s got the sisters. And she wants to do it herself surprising me. I let her get in there and she's independent and I might kind of finish it off. But I don't know. Is there sort of an age that we should start encouraging them to be more independent?

DR. VINCENT TU: Yes so we usually say 8 years old. I know it sounds a lot older than a lot of parents are thinking. But at 8 years old, research show that if we do at that time to let them brush by themselves then they actually do a thorough job and I’ve seen less cavities if we stop at that age. But personally I always tell parents I use handwriting as a guide. It takes a lot of manual dexterity to be brushing well. And so therefore, handwriting is a good indicator of how well our manual dexterity has developed.

And so usually when they're around 8 years old they have some pretty decent handwriting so if you trust them to brush by themselves at that point. However I always tell parents who have kids who are 8 and above are having high cavity incidents. It's not wrong to go in and brush by themselves but help them brush. Because parents always want to make sure that kids are taken care of and so lots of visits to dental office, make sure that they actually enjoy going to dentist and not have the cavity every 6 months.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Maybe let them use the app but then check, finish it off. I want also kids to embrace that and start using the brush. What do you recommend for incentives and having fun sorts of equipment and gear?

DR. VINCENT TU: A lot of parents like using a sticker chart or every time they brush, they get stickers. And that’s two stickers a day. That’s pretty good. And so make sure they make the full brushing job. Positive reinforcement is great with kids. You want to try to make it fun for kids. Otherwise they find it very boring and two minutes last forever.

SUNNY GAULT: They need music. I’m telling you

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: I don’t have the app but I’m going to try that. But I have recently turned on the Rothy Song, the “brush your teeth, tshtsh” and my kids got it in their head. But of course, I mean it’s like from the 1970s.

DR. VINCENT TU: Yes, but it works. It works.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Screen time while you’re brushing.

SUNNY GAULT: I know right?

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: How about for flossing? I admit—

SUNNY GAULT: We’re bad at flossing.


DR. VINCENT TU: Most people are. It’s okay. We just want to make it a good habit. So floss on a string works much better just because you could use a clean section of floss every time you introduce it into a new site over the mouth. Whereas the floss on a stick or little floss picks, they work great too. But you just end up using the same section of the floss for the whole entire mouth. I think that floss picks work really great as a starting point because holding floss in your hand is not very easy.

SUNNY GAULT: Sometimes that monodexterity to floss, I can’t even do it.

DR. VINCENT TU: Absolutely. It takes a lot of factors. It really does. And so we just want to make it fun for the kids, for everyone in the family. I always recommend the whole family get together, to have the whole family just floss together. Make it fun. The really big thing about kids is that if you’re flossing them they tend to back up every single time you try to floss them so laying them down in their bed or on the couch is going to be the easiest way to floss them.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: I would have never thought of that.

DR. VINCENT TU: In the dental chair, that’s how we floss the kids. So it makes it easier.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Lay them down. It’s like a part of the night time routine. Okay.

DR. VINCENT TU: Absolutely.

SUNNY GAULT: I do end up taking my twins and like laying them down because they’re fighting me. And it’s just easier just to lay them down after the bath and just like

DR. VINCENT TU: Sometimes it takes two parents when they’re really little to actually brush well. Sometimes one parent could do it. So team effort, team effort.

SUNNY GAULT: Sometimes older toddlers can help.

DR. VINCENT TU: Absolutely. Older siblings are great in the way that they could coach the younger siblings to do things, hold their hands, all that stuff.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Alright. How about ultrasonic toothbrushes? I mean I got mine as an adult and recently saw one that was made for kids and I thought this is kind of a cool idea. So I don’t know. Is that okay? And at what age do you recommend it?

DR. VINCENT TU: It’s a great question. I don’t really have an age per se. It’s just think that it’s really up to the kids. And so some kids who are really ticklish and they just can’t stand the way that these electric toothbrushes feel. They’re very stimulating or they can be. So they end up doing a really bad job of brushing when they use electric toothbrush. Whereas with the manual toothbrush it’s not nearly as stimulating. So for some kids, you could actually brush with a regular toothbrush and do a much cleaner job. However electric toothbrushes are designed to get your teeth cleaner than what the manual technically could. But if you just can’t get it in there, it’s going to be really hard to keep the teeth clean.

SUNNY GAULT: My twins will not touch the electric ones. We tried it, they totally freaked out. But they will do the manual ones and we found some fun ones that light up but they’re still manual and they kind of flash and stuff. But my 5 year old and my 3 year old love—they just got SpongeBob and the Hulk I think or something like that and they just love it.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: I think it’s more about the kids being more receptive. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter just as long as they’re hey, I like it. It works.

DR. VINCENT TU: Yes, a lot of times it is about the character on the product like Sunny said. So basically we just want to make it fun for the kids. A lot of times, a lot of my friends just take the kids to the store to buy the toothbrush

SUNNY GAULT: to pick it out. Yes. That's what my husband did.

DR. VINCENT TU: They pick it out, they’re more likely to brush by themselves or brush with that toothbrush.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: That’s cool. That’s a lot of really great ideas. So now, thanks. I really want to appreciate your insight. So I want to say thanks to everybody for joining us. And be sure to visit our episode page on our website for more information about Dr. Tu and his practice as well as links to additional resources. This conversation continues for members of our Twin Talks Club. After the show, Dr. Tu will talk about why we should finish our meals with cheese. So for more information about the Twin Talks Club, visit our website,

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CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And today we have a question from Annie in New Port, Rhode Island. She’s asking about solid food. She says, my 8 month old fraternal boys, they seem to be doing fairly well in trying new foods. I give them a lot of mashed up vegetables and mix in some fruit. But lately I noticed one of my boys seems to be much pickier than the other and refuses the food I’m offering. So how do I handle this? Do I need to prepare different food for each of them?

Natalie DIAZ: HI Annie. This is Natalie Diaz, author of What to do When You’re Having Two and founder of and Multiplicity Magazine. Just so you know, you’re not alone on your frustrations to solid feeding your twins. It’s very common that one twin will have a preference of the food that they like while the other one—I always call the other one fine to tank. I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks of this as old school. But that’s what I think of. Usually there’s always one child who’s the better eater. So how do we overcome this? Do you need to have two separate meals?

It depends you know if one kid is totally going on strike and wants to eat nothing but sweet potatoes and they’re really just giving you a lot of problems, you may have to. But I’m going to tell you old school mom style, even now to this day, my 9 year old know that we have a rule in our house that this house isn’t a diner. You eat what’s on the table and that’s us. Not that you should apply this rule to your 8 month old but I am saying that you got to figure out a way that they’re going to eat what they have.

So I wish that I knew specifically what food they were eating. Do they not want meat, do they not want to eat veggies, do they not want to eat fruits. If it’s a problem that they want to stay with the sweets, just gradually mix in some vegetables and go you know 90% fruit, 10% vegetable. On the next day go 20% vegetable—did I say that right? Well you know what I mean.

Just gradually increase the amount of vegetables that are in the fruit until you’re getting a nice 50-50. If that doesn’t seem to be working and you do feel comfortable with having two separate bowls for your twins, then of course go ahead and do that. Feeding kids and parenting twins—It’s not a one size fits all. You have to do whatever you feel is best for your twins. If you think that it’s an issue with texture, let’ say they don’t want to eat chunky or something, you may want to speak to your pediatrician about it.

You should always speak to your pediatrician if you really have a concern. But as far as having the picky eater, you can just have a picky eater. Not every twin will just eat whatever’s put in front of them. So try tomorrow. Start a little bit. Do a lot of fruit, a little vege. Try to change that. Try to give them what they want alternating with something that they don’t want. Let’s say you give them some chicken soup and then they love having mashed carrots. Give them one spoon of the chicken soup, one spoon of the mashed carrots. You can even keep them in separate bowls.

Try that, see how it goes and actually there’s a ton of resources on in regards to feeding your multiples. So you may want to check that out. There are a lot more specific questions and answers up there. But I’m sure if you get back to the New Mommy Media Team, like a follow up, I’d be more than happy to help whenever you need me. Have a good day. Take a deep breath and try not getting frustrated. If you get frustrated, the babies are going to sense that and they’ll shut down and shut their little mouths. So take a deep breath, put on some great music and just make eating time fun time. Good luck. I hope today everybody eats everything that’s in their dish. Bye.

CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Twin Talks.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies
• Parent Savers your parenting resource on the go and our newest show,
• Newbies for new parents.

This is Twin Talks. Parenting times two.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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