Hi there. I’m a parent of two young kids who always give me a hard time when it comes to brushing their teeth. I don’t know about you, but getting my kids to brush their teeth is like pulling teeth. There is always a battle to get them into the bathroom. I have come up with a few tips that seem to work to get them in there, and I hope they can help you too.
First I find that if I say to my kids, “Let’s go brush our teeth,” I just become a broken record. “Hey, guys. Let’s brush our teeth.” “Did you guys brush your teeth?” “Should we brush our teeth?” It goes on and on, and nothing gets done. I have learned that kids love a challenge and they love a game, so what works for us is a race. I turn to my kids and I simply say, “Hey, who’s going to brush their teeth first?” and the two of them charge into the bathroom. Or I’ll say to one of them, “Do you think you can brush your teeth faster than I can make your lunch for school?” Boom, he’s in that bathroom and ready to go. It’s great. The only thing is, if you are going to have your kids race each other, you might want to have two separate tubes of toothpaste to help avoid that fight.
One concern a lot of parents have is about the toothpaste. How much toothpaste should be on the brush? They used to say a long time ago that kids under two shouldn’t have any fluoride, but now that’s changed. My local dentist DrRichins, from Aspen Heights Dental, says “You should minimize the amount of fluoride by just putting a smear of toothpaste on the toothbrush”. This way the children get just a little bit but not too much because they don’t know how to spit yet. Once they’re older and they know how to spit it out, you can’t give them a little more.
Now once you get them in the bathroom. We’ve got to talk about quality brushing. This is often a challenge too, especially when my two year old is happy to put the toothbrush in her mouth and just chew on it. What we’ve come up with is a sound system. Basically each part of the mouth has a different sound. A lot of times I’ll brush with them so they can see this. Basically, the back bottom of the mouth is ahhh, so we brush our teeth and go, “Ahhh.” We make sure we get all those parts. Then we flip the toothbrush over and we do ohhhh, ohhhh, and we get the back of the mouth. Then when it’s time for the front, they give us a great smile and go eeeee. This is also great if you’re not in the room and you’re just listening. You can hear them to make sure that they got all the different spots in their mouth.
Another issue is time. The dentist says kids are supposed to brush their teeth for two minutes, but kids have no concept of time, so that’s like an eternity. We’ve come up with some other tricks. A song is great. Our dentist told us the birthday song two times is just enough time to get those teeth clinical. They also sell those cute little kids sand timers that work well. We also have a toothbrush that has an alarm on it. Basically, it blinks or vibrates when that two minutes is up, so my kids know when they brush for the right amount of time.
I’m curious to hear what our dentist has to say at our next appointment. I know he’s going to tell us that we have to start flossing. That one I’m at a complete loss for. Hope these tips help your kids learn to keep their teeth pearly white!