BRUSHING teeth used to set off tantrums in our house bigger than Russell Crowe after having his poem reading cut short. The memories of those moments came flooding back when parents of toddlers started discussing the minty fresh topic during the Colgate Bloggers Brunch in Sydney last month.
However, something changed with Princess Ella. Maybe it was turning into a preschooler, maybe it was finding a way to make the whole experience fun or it could well be that she’s now in control of the situation. And what three-year-old doesn’t love control?
With 38% of children aged 5-6 having some form of tooth decay, we all need to find an easier way to get toothbrushes onto pearly whites. So, as part of Oral Health Month this August I thought I’d share some of the tips made by bloggers and NSW Dental Hygienists’ Association of Australia president Melanie Hayes during the bloggers brunch, plus a few of my own.
Tips for healthy teeth:
- Use a small, soft brush and, for children over 18 months, a pea-sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste. (Rinse first. You never know where they’ve had it). Try and encourage them to spit the toothpaste out, not swallow it. This can become a game in itself (as you’ll see by the video).
- Brush twice a day, with the final brush AFTER their night-time milk (if your child is still having a drink of milk at night).
- Let them have a go at brushing their teeth first, then take over.
- Face them away from you, looking into a mirror, and brush them as if you were brushing your own teeth. Clean the outer surfaces, the chewing surface and behind the front teeth.
- If you have more than one child, let them all brush together. Better still, join them and have “family brushing time’’. Kids love to copy.
- Brush your child’s teeth, while they brush your teeth (a tip by Zoey of Good Goog)
- Sing The Toothbrush Song from PlaySchool to make the experience a little more entertaining (A little shy on the singing in this video).
- Have a morning and night-time routine chart on the wall that shows when it’s time to brush. This makes them responsible for remembering when to brush. (Again, it’s the control thing).
- You should help your child brush their teeth until they are eight years old (I know, good luck to us all).
Now, for a video of Ella showing how we make brushing teeth fun. So this one’s for the little people in the house. Mums, set the kids up with the laptop for a few minutes and go finish the dishes (or that sneaky bit of chocolate hiding in the pantry).
What are your tips for getting children to brush their teeth?