Getting your kids to bed can be a right faff, and sometimes it’s tempting just to skip the tooth-brushing step, especially if they kick up a fuss when they’re anywhere near a toothbrush. After all, they only have milk teeth that will fall out anyway, so taking care of them doesn’t matter, right?
Wrong. Brushing is still super important as it helps clear out germs (especially important during the eat-anything-they-find-on-the-floor stage!), prevents toothache and gum disease, and sets strong foundations for their adult teeth. Plus, teaching your children the importance of cleaning their teeth at an early age will stand them in good stead for the future.
So help them to take care of their smile with these six ideas…
Brush yours at the same time
Kids love to mimic what grown-ups do, so if they’re old enough to clean their own teeth, or your partner or older sibling is around to help, brush your teeth at the same time so they can copy what you’re doing.
Emphasise your movements so they can follow you more easily, and smile and make silly faces while you do it to make it more fun.
Once you’ve finished, open wide and let them inspect your mouth for approval, then do the same for them.
Involve their favourite characters
Perhaps your kid is a Star Wars enthusiast or a Frozen fan? Then they’ll love Oral-B’s rechargeable electric toothbrushes for kids aged three and above. Adorned with their favourite characters, the brush will do all the hard work while your little one will feel like they have a new toy.
You can also download the Disney Magic Timer app to use when brushing. Ninety per cent of kids brush longer when using this app, as their favourite Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters encourage them to brush for the recommended two minutes using games, stickers and rewards.
For an added bonus, team their brush with a Frozen, Disney Princess or Cars Pro-Expert Stages Toothpaste , available in yummy fruit burst or bubble gum flavours. All this will turn brushing teeth from a chore into a fun and tasty treat!
Make it into a game
To get your little one to sit still and let you clean their teeth, you need to be a little creative. Gasp and say something along the lines of, “I’m sure I just saw a giraffe in there – quick let me look!” and then when you spot it you can “give it a stroke” with the toothbrush. Next up there’s a hippo by their back molar, a monkey swinging off their front teeth and so on.
You can mix it up, too – perhaps by finding the characters from their favourite TV show, tracking down what they’ve eaten that day, or catching the sugar bugs on their teeth (although be careful of this one if your child doesn’t like creepy crawlies!).
This adds a fun and magical element to teeth cleaning and will make them smile and laugh – which is perfect for you to then be able to access their gnashers!
Get them to brush their toy’s teeth
Try bringing in one of their favourite toys and giving your child an old manual toothbrush so they can brush their toy’s teeth while you brush theirs.
This will help keep them entertained, as well as making them feel involved in the process. Plus, you can use the toy to help educate them about the importance of brushing, explaining that if they don’t brush their toy’s teeth properly, they could all turn brown and fall out!
Let them help you
If they’re of the age when they want to do everything for themselves, let them help you when it comes to cleaning their teeth. Sure they might squeeze out a bit too much toothpaste, and their motor skills might not be up to the perfect brush, but if you let them have a go with a little guidance from you, you’ll be helping to ensure healthy brushing habits for the future, and that’s invaluable.
Make a reward chart
Every time you have a successful teeth-cleaning session you can reward them by letting them pick a sticker for their reward chart. Then, if they’ve had a good month of teeth cleaning, you can let them have a prize – although try to avoid sweets for obvious reasons!
How do you make teeth cleaning fun for you kids? Let us know your tips in the comments section below…