Does your little one stuff her mouth full of food and then spit it all out? Does he store food in the pockets of his cheeks? Does she need a reminder to swallow during every meal?

If so, you need to BBB:

BRUSH: Brush inside her mouth prior to each meal. This can be done with a toothbrush, vibrating toothbrush, nuk brush or finger brush.

BITE: Give him a teething toy, oral motor tool, or finger shaped food to bite.

BOOST: Boost the flavor and texture of her foods. Make them salty, spicy, sweet. Add flavor so she can taste it, and offer crunchy, lumpy and solid textures, so she can FEEL it!

If your little one is overstuffing and/or oral holding, there may be a couple of different issues going on. It could be an ORAL-MOTOR challenge or an ORAL-SENSORY challenge.

Oral-Motor: If it’s an oral-motor challenge, he may have difficulty using his tongue to reach the food in the pockets of his cheeks and bring them to the center for a swallow. If his tongue strength is reduced, he may not be able to collect the food and form a cohesive bolus (a collected ball of food) that can be swallowed. With an oral-motor weakness, we want to get the tongue moving as much as possible. Side to side movement to reach into those cheeks will get stronger with practice. When a child is biting on a tool or food using the side molar areas, or when you’re brushing in the cheeks, the tongue will follow. The more you brush/bite, the better!

Oral-Sensory: If it’s an oral-sensory challenge, your child may have a reduced sensation (reduced ability to feel in the mouth). If this is the case, brushing will provide extra sensation/input to wake-up the system; and stronger flavors and increased texture (think crunchy, lumpy, soft solid) will be more easily felt in the mouth.

I recommend BBB before every meal. It may seem like a lot, but make it simple and part of the daily routine. When preparing a meal, hand your child the toothbrush or teething toy and have them brush and bite. If you have a little one, they can do the biting on their own, and then you step in and do a quick brush right before the food goes out. A little effort goes a long way!