Monday, 28 August 2017

Toothbrushing Tips For Toddlers!

OK, if your child is anything like mine then the teeth-brushing will have been a bloomin' nightmare! We've had screaming, crying, shouting, running away, sealing of name it we've had it! Bizarrely though, it isn't the tooth-brushing that is the issue, nor the taste of the toothpaste (she loves that and it is mint!).  It is the independence - she wants to brush her own teeth which is great, I am all for encouraging her to be independent where appropriate.  But she isn't managing to brush properly - she just sucks the toothpaste off and then wants more, and then waves the brush around in her mouth without even connecting with her teeth!

We started with soft pre-tooth silicone 'brushes' from about 6 months and initially it wasn't an issue but as the months progressed it definitely got harder! I have learnt that picking your battles is important for everyone's sanity but tooth brushing is non-negotiable in my opinion.  Now at the age of two and half, I think (she says crossing her fingers, hoping not to jinx it!) we have cracked the getting her teeth brushed whilst still walking away from the bathroom sane (don't get me wrong it isn't all plain sailing - if she is over tired then it suddenly becomes very tricky again!).

These are the things that have worked for us - obviously every child is different so what works for one may not work for another - but hopefully this may give you some ideas to help (if like us you need it!):

  • Small mirror - this one we bought from dunhelm mill a couple of years ago as part of a set but having a small mirror at toddler height is great - she can see what is happening whilst we brush her teeth, and then she can try to mimic it when it is her turn.

  • Stickers - we use these as a reward, if she lets us brush her teeth then she gets to pick a sticker each day (we also use the sticker system for walking nicely, etc) - we have bought cheap packs of lots of different ones, foxes, unicorns, hedgehogs, shooting stars and rainbows etc - all things she loves, so she looks forward to picking one each night.

  • OK, this one may be a little subjective, but we use technology.  We found a toothbrushing song on Youtube that she loves (there are loads but we chose one by KidsTV123 which is perky and catchy - she is quite happy to listen to the song whilst we brush her teeth and then we play it again so she can attempt to brush her teeth afterwards. 

As I said, all children are different and what works for one may not work for another - we have tried so many different methods to get her to let us brush her teeth such as we have tried the brushing each others teeth and all she did was try to use my brush in her mouth and still wouldn't let me do hers! We tried fancy brushes including one that lights up and vibrates but she hated that so we ended up using it as a normal toothbrush - money well spent! ha!

If you managed to navigate toothbrush time with little bother what worked for you and your little ones ?

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