Encouraging your hypersensitive child to brush their teeth can be a real battle. I should know I have one! Mini finds toothbrushing really uncomfortable and we have tried lots of things to encourage him to brush his teeth. This post is in partnership with Playbrush, which aims to make brushing fun.
Not one single thing has solved the issue, in fact, it is important to note that it can be worthwhile trying things again at a different time, as our kids and their circumstances change. So even if you think, doh, I have tried all of these things, it might be worth trying them again.
It is also worth figuring out if your child has HYPOsensitivity or HYPERsensitivity. Kids with hyposensitivities often have little awareness of what’s going on inside their mouths which can cause anxiety and fear when it comes to toothbrushing. On the other hand, individuals with hypersensitivities are overly conscious of and sensitive to oral stimulation. Either way, the aim is to normalise toothbrushing for our children.
Encouraging your Hypersensitive Child to Brush their Teeth
Give your child control or the illusion of control. Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste.
Finding a suitable toothpaste can be a challenge. We ended up trying nearly all of the ones in the supermarket. Some were too strong, others too frothy and others too blue (don’t ask)!
The same can go for a toothbrush. We have tried sonic in the hope that it would do a better job over a shorter period of time, but in the end went back to a soft bristle brush for Mini. If a toothbrush is too much then try toothette with a sponge or even a finger to start with.
Small thing make a big difference. Is the water too cold? Tepid water is better for Mini.
Let them brush your teeth whilst you are brushing theirs. This can take their mind off it.
Establish a routine so that they know what to expect. We have a timer, so Mini can clearly see how long is left.
I am a fan of disclosing tablets. These are small purple tablets that we chew and they dye the plaque on our teeth a purple colour for new plaque and red for old plaque. We all do this and then see who can get their teeth clean of the colour the fastest!
Get your kids a (robust) mirror – they can make silly faces in it and watch themselves brushing
Turn brushing into a game. This is where Playbrush really came into its own for Mini. I am not going to lie, I was really skeptical. But it is really working for us.
Basically, Playbrush turns your manual toothbrush into a game controller. It allows your child to control mobile games with their brushing movement.
The thought of bringing tech into the bathroom concerned me. Water and a phone – uh oh. But they have thought of that with a pouch for the phone or tablet. We bought a stick on soap dish for Mini’s iPod and it is perfect as our tiles didn’t allow for the pouch to stick on.
The fact that you can use your own manual toothbrush is perfect for Mini as he can put his soft bristled one into the Playbrush. The games are great as they give interactive brushing challenges and your child rewards. You can also have up to six profiles per Playbrush, so I do not need one for each of the boys, which is great.
I was sure I wasn’t going to like Playbrush, but it really did change my perspective. It took the battle out of toothbrushing. Mini is happy to brush his teeth without me forcing him to. He loves the games (there are 3) and at the moment they are keeping him engaged. We have noticed an improvement when it comes to using the disclosing tablet as there is much less red (old plaque).
The games are interactive (action & reaction), which measures speed, duration and position to be able to get good brushing feedback. The algorithm is designed in a way that kids brush all around their mouth. it is technology used for good. We have a no tech after 6pm rule but have relaxed it so that the boys can use the Playbrush before bed. I figured that it is 2 minutes each, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t going to cause issues!