Mellow Mummy: Tips For Getting Your Children To Brush Their Teeth : Taking life as it comes...

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Tips For Getting Your Children To Brush Their Teeth

On Mellow Mummy over the years I have blogged a number of times about how un-mellow I am when it comes to trying to get Lara to brush her teeth.  Last week Holly cut her first tooth so now we are about to embark on the same struggle all over again.  New research from Aquafresh showed that I'm not alone in stressing about how to get my girls to brush their teeth - they found that more than 1 million under-fives already had 2 or more fillings.  Eeek.

Over half of the mums that Aquafresh interviewed said that they find it hard to get their children to brush their teeth and that the stress can lead to arguments.  Until about June this year Lara would fight the toothbrushing every morning and every evening.  I struggled to understand why, after 2 and a half years of doing the same thing every day she still tried to resist the inevitable.  Something finally changed in June - I'm not really sure what but a new electric toothbrush may have contributed to it, as did Lara's first ever trip to the dentist.  Lara now happily brushes her teeth but we still have days when there is less brushing and more messing about.

Aquafresh sent us a kit to help get the family brushing and Lara ignored all of the fancy toothbrushes and special children's toothpaste and instead went straight for the simple egg-timer.  This one little thing has made a big change to Lara's toothbrushing habits.  Teaching Lara the 2-minute rule (you should brush for at least 2 minutes twice a day) had been quite tricky until the egg timer came along.  Now Lara keeps her eyes glued to the timer and even when she feels herself flagging, she keeps going (well, at least sort of chewing her toothbrush if she loses interest) for the full two minutes.  I am convinced that this little timer will improve the health of her teeth which were definitely a bit icky beforehand.

Aquafresh collected lots of other tips from Netmums members about how to reduce the stress of toothbrushing time.  Here are a few that I really agree with:-

  • Let kids pick their own toothbrush – they will get really excited when it comes to brushing their teeth with the toothbrush they have picked!
  • Play their favourite song while they brush to the beat – as most songs last two – three minutes it’s the perfect length
  • Brush your teeth at the same time – kids love to copy mum and dad!
  • Tell your kids that the Tooth Fairy pays out less for decayed teeth – this will get them brushing better!
  • If you have an older child, get them to teach their younger sibling how to brush – this makes it fun and also reinforces good brushing tips for the elder one.
  • Make three animal faces for brushing: tiger teeth (together), hippo mouth (mouth open) and snake tongue (to brush tongue). It makes it more fun and gets their teeth in the right position.
  • With older kids, establish the link between bad brushing and bad breath – they will soon cotton on to this!
  • Get your kids to brush with disclosing tablets once a week – they will love the surprising effect and it can become a challenge to see who can get their teeth white the quickest!
  • Play ‘dentist’ with your kids – put them in a chair, inspect their teeth while they brush and provide a running commentary while they are doing so! 
  • Let your kids be independent! You will need to brush their teeth at the end but letting them do it first makes them feel very grown up and it’s good practice!
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Dr. Ang's Dental Practice .
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