Both my boys have just been for their regular six-monthly check up’s at the dentist’s and I was devastated to discover that MIni is showing some signs of decay on one of his milk teeth. This means that we have been moved to three monthly check-ups and also that I need to be more vigilant with their brushing.
So here are my twenty top tips for encouraging brushing:
- Get a 2 minute egg timer – you can get these at the dentist – so your kids know how long to brush for!
- Let kids pick their own toothbrush – they will get really excited when it comes to brushing their teeth with the toothbrush they have picked!
- Get your kids a (robust) mirror – they can make silly faces in it and watch themselves brushing
- Play their favourite song while they brush to the beat – as most songs last two – three minutes it’s the perfect length
- Brush your teeth at the same time – kids love to copy mum and dad!
- Get an older family member to surprise your kids with their false teeth and a story about how theirs fell out – always a good incentive to get kids brushing!
- If you have more than one child, turn brush time into a competition – the one who brushes the best gets to pick the bedtime story! Don’t forget to alternate the ‘winner’ though!
- Tell your kids that the Tooth Fairy pays out less for decayed teeth – this will get them brushing better!
- If you have an older child, get them to teach their younger sibling how to brush – this makes it fun and also reinforces good brushing tips for the elder one.
- Let your child brush their favourite toy’s teeth – they will soon pick up how to do their own!
- Sing “Brush, brush, brush your teeth, gently to and fro, up, down, side to side, teeth so clean they glow” to the tune of “Row row row your boat” – it’s a great brushing rhythm!
- Give your kids a gentle scare by showing them pictures of people with bad teeth – or even your own – so that they know why they need to brush!
- Make three animal faces for brushing: tiger teeth (together), hippo mouth (mouth open) and snake tongue (to brush tongue). It makes it more fun and gets their teeth in the right position.
- With older kids, establish the link between bad brushing and bad breath – they will soon cotton on to this!
- Get your kids to brush with disclosing tablets once a week – they will love the surprising effect and it can become a challenge to see who can get their teeth white the quickest!
- Play ‘dentist’ with your kids – put them in a chair, inspect their teeth while they brush and provide a running commentary while they are doing so!
- Reward charts with stickers work very well – once they have reached a certain number they can get a treat which is a great incentive!
- Let your child ‘brush’ your teeth too – they are more likely to let you brush theirs if you can take it in turns!
- Give your kids 1p in a piggy bank every time they brush properly – 2p per day adds up to £7.30 a year!
- Let your kids be independent! You will need to brush their teeth at the end but letting them do it first makes them feel very grown up and it’s good practice!
• One in fifty mums admitted that their kids never brush their teeth.
Great ideas there, 1) how great is your dentist? Noticing a problem and making the check ups every 3 months, that’s fab! 2) having money motivated boys – tooth fairy pays out less for decaying teeth! Fabulous! Many thnaks x
Rainbow Prams » I think it is so easy to not focus on teeth when there is so much other stuff to do at bedtime etc, but this really brought it home to me
Some great tips. My girls do brush, but I know they’re far too quick. RoRo got an egg timer for her birthday, but no idea where it is and we keep meaning to get a low mirror for the bathroom (they can’t see in the one that’s there currently!), so must get on this. They have check-ups in a couple of weeks, and I do worry that she’ll find a problem.
Tasha Goddard » My boys are now on three monthly checks, this really upset me!
Your post came at the right time, as I am having an ever so slight battle with my 5 year old and brushing get teeth. Thank you for sharing the tips, I will DEFINITLY give some of them a try.
Kamelia » I was mortified at the dentist!
Great Post, i really like your tips. Children don’t always like brushing their teeth, but if we can motivate them with a rewards program, they will be brushing on their own. A simple chart, a kitchen timer, and lots of praise is all you’ll need to get started.
Childern teeth cleaning is so important than ever as research as now showen that bad oral dental hygiene is linked to other health problem is later life.
Great tips! I will surely bear this in mind and do this with my kids in time. 🙂