Did you know that I hold the current title for Master Toddler Tooth Brusher?
I can swirl around bicuspids and scrub out molars on wee ones faster than you can say dental floss. It’s taken years of practice and I didn’t always have the cooperation of the intended target. I play no games when it comes to this daily hygiene ritual. Tooth care is too important to let fall to the wayside. My children know that if I must, I will pin them to the ground with my legs and get those teeth clean!
Even still, I’d rather not take that approach unless absolutely necessary and eventually little bodies get too big to pin down well. *wink* What’s a mom to do when she has a child that doesn’t particularly find taking care of their choppers very fun?
Add some whimsy and giggles and I bet they’ll change their tune!
Here are my tips for making these times of day less of a challenge and more of something that children look forward to!
Tooth Brushing with Children 101
Make it a Game
Nothing screams fun to children like a race to the finish. Now wait a minute! you say. Children need to brush for at least two minutes! You’re right! That’s why this isn’t a race to see who finished first. Set a timer and allow your children to see who can brush the longest. If your children are anything like mine, you may have to eventually make them stop because they’ve been at it for more than enough time!
Brush and Boogie
Put on some music and dance while you brush! A little jig. A little jive. Before you know it, tooth brushing time is over and there are shiny clean smiles all around! Make up your own special song that you only sing when it’s time to brush. Put in a CD or get one of those fancy toothbrushes that play music on their own. There is a song that was on Barney when my little brother was young that still sticks in my head now (How do they get in your brain like that!?).
Let Them Choose
No, I don’t mean let them choose whether or not they brush. I mean take them to the store and make a big deal out of allowing them to choose their very own special toothpaste and toothbrush. If they find something they love, they’ll be more excited to use their items at home. My children love the Earthpaste Lemon Twist flavor. It’s got the tart citrus flavor without the sourness. It is flouride free, so it’s safe for swallowing. I love that aspect because in the past, I always worried about my younger ones swallowing too much of the conventional toothpaste. You can even get a tube squeezer that helps little hands get the toothpaste out on to their brushes.
Set a Good Example
Let hesitant children accompany you when you shine up your own teeth. Demonstrate the correct way to get all the nooks and crannies and smile big when you are done, showing off your handiwork. Be silly. Show that it isn’t difficult or painful to brush. Gargle loudly when you rinse. Make exaggerated faces. Giggle. When children see Mommy or Daddy having fun, they will want to join in!
Make Sure There are No Sensitivities
There are numerous reasons why someone may have sensitive teeth. If you have spoken to your dentist and there aren’t any major concerns, you may want to consider using a toothpaste that will not agitate your child and make tooth brushing time stressful and unpleasant. As an adult, I struggled with sensitive teeth for ages. I had resorted to purchasing a rather expensive brand of toothpaste that only I could use in order to not experience discomfort while cleaning my teeth. I worried about the extra chemicals in the paste, but I felt helpless to do anything else. When I started using Earthpaste from Redmond Trading Company, I found that my sensitivities lessened greatly and I no longer had to stress about what I was putting in my mouth. Earthpaste is 100% natural. Even the adult flavors are safe to swallow, so children can use them too!
You may have to experiment with various types of toothpaste to find the one that provides relief, but do keep trying! Teeth brushing shouldn’t be an unhappy experience.
Those are my tips for helping children find the fun in tooth brushing time. What are yours?