One of the things I struggle with is getting guy kids to brush their teeth properly. Fortunately for us they seem to have quite hardy teeth, because new research from Aquafresh reveals that 17% of under fives have 3 fillings. I find this quite a shocking statistic. Apparently the daily arguments we have about morning and evening brushing (& how long it takes) are normal with 53% (from a study of 15000) of mums admitting to finding it hard to get their kids to brush their teeth.
In our house we sing the tooth brushing song (I have a little toothbrush…) which usually forces them to brush as they can’t stand my singing and we also have some cool little egg timers. However, we have tried flashing toothbrushes, the lot. Its hard to keep such a routine thing interesting. Helpfully Aquafresh have used Netmums to crowd source their top 20 tooth brushing tips, we will certainly use some of the ideas; I think the money incentive will be particularly helpful to use on the boy!
- 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.
11. 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!
12. 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!
13. 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.
14. With older kids, establish the link between bad brushing and bad breath – they will soon cotton on to this!
15. 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!
16. 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!
17. Reward charts with stickers work very well – once they have reached a certain number they can get a treat which is a great incentive!
18. Let your child ‘brush’ your teeth too – they are more likely to let you brush theirs if you can take it in turns!
19. Give your kids 1p in a piggy bank every time they brush properly – 2p per day adds up to £7.30 a year!
20. 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!