I posted into The Motherload® Facebook group the other day, asking for advice about my 2.5 year old and how I can get him to brush his teeth. It’s a problem many parents have faced before…
You see, the guilts had well and truly taken hold as I’d noticed earlier that day that he had got a red and swollen gum. Shock, horror! I immediately took to Google to find out all about how terrible a parent I am. As if my toddler hadn’t done a good enough job at bed time, I was truly beating myself up.
Judge Google had made its mind up. He had “obviously” contracted gum disease because I hadn’t been forceful enough about him brushing properly for 2 minutes, twice a day. Social services would surely be knocking down my door any minute. Except, they didn’t, and they still haven’t… phew!
Toddlers are gross, they’re mucky, germy, cuddly bundles of ick. So getting them to brush their teeth can be a HUGE battle. Couple that with convincing them to drop by the dentist, and I really have a strong challenge to face. For other parents out there, check out http://www.dds4childrenpearland.com/ if you’re looking for a reliable dentist for your child.
Here’s how our wonderful MOLOs, as ever, saved the day with their EXCELLENT advice:
Gem number 1: some nurseries encourage teeth brushing after morning snack, meaning you can leave all the hard work to peer pressure, win!
Gem number 2: if all else fails, scare the jeebies out of them by telling them their teeth will rot & fall out if they don’t brush. This tac might work for some children, but unfortunately my child has the will of an Ox, and he shall not be moved.
Gem number 3: MOLO Charlie suggests buying a fancy electric toothbrush, with their favourite character on, with a timer, or even with flashing lights! Let your little one choose their own toothbrush, in the hope that they’ll be actually excited to use it.
Gem number 4: another imaginative one (and one of my favourites)… tell your tot that there is a monster on their teeth. Say that the only way to get rid of them is to brush them away really well. MOLO Lea commented that the monster is always running around the mouth, and so they have to chase him with the toothbrush, then when the teeth are done, the monster has been brushed away! Genius!
Gem number 5: Kids love YouTube, so why not use it to our advantage! Search for the “Brush Your Teeth” Song by Blippi, or the “This Is The Way We Brush Our Teeth” Song by Little Baby Bum. Both are super annoying and catchy, so are sure to be a hit.
Sometimes, it’s reassuring to get the advice of a medical professional, and so here’s what the NHS website suggests for taking care of your little one’s teeth:
- The easiest way to brush a baby’s teeth is to sit them on your knee, with their head resting against your chest. With an older child, stand behind them and tilt their head backwards.
- Try turning it into a game, or brush your own teeth at the same time, and then help your child to finish their own.
- Supervise brushing to make sure your child gets the right amount of toothpaste and they’re not eating or licking toothpaste from the tube.
- Carry on helping your child brush their teeth until you’re sure they can do it well enough themselves. This will normally be until they’re at least 7.
- Brush the teeth in small circles, covering all the surfaces, and encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out afterwards. There’s no need to rinse with water, as this will wash away the fluoride.
- There’s no need to buy special “children’s toothpaste” brands. In fact, some of them don’t have enough fluoride in them to help prevent tooth decay. Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste, as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through (usually at around six months, but it can be earlier or later). It’s important to use a fluoride paste, as this helps to prevent and control tooth decay.