5 Ways To Get Your Toddler Excited About Brushing Their Teeth
You’ve mastered your toddler’s feeding routine, and you’ve even managed to get her into a steady sleep schedule.
How about getting your squirmy little one into a morning and evening teeth brushing routine? This habit is an easy one to establish - it just takes practise, persistence and lots of positivity.
Teaching your toddler how to brush their teeth is really important. It's never too early to start brushing your child's teeth once those little tooth buds start to emerge. Normally, by the age of three, all of your little one's teeth will be in place.
Why Is Toddler Dental Health So Important?
It’s really important to set down a healthy dental care routine during childhood, as it’s at this time that your child will form lifelong habits. It can be challenging to change bad habits later in life that started in childhood.
The enamel on your toddler's milk teeth is 50% thinner than on adult teeth, so brushing is important in order to help keep tooth decay away. The best way to prevent your child from getting tooth decay is by brushing their teeth for a duration of two minutes, twice daily, to remove plaque. Plaque is a soft, sticky, almost invisible layer of bacteria that forms on teeth every day.
Toddlers Need Help To Brush Their Teeth
While teaching your child how to brush their teeth is important, they may not have the skills to properly brush their teeth until seven or eight years old.
So until your child is able to use a toothbrush by themselves, you must help brush your child’s teeth in the morning and before bed with a toddler suitable toothbrush and flouride toothpaste.
The easiest way to brush your toddler’s teeth is to stand behind them, gently tilt their head backwards and brush their teeth in small circles making sure that you cover all the surfaces.
Do not force the toothbrush into your child's mouth, gently persuade her to open her mouth wide for you. It's important that she sees tooth brushing as a fun, positive experience and not a power struggle. If she grabs the toothbrush from you, let her take it and have a good look at it. You can then continue with the tooth brushing.
Five Ways To Make Teeth Brushing Fun
Let's face it: A toddler’s main motivations in life are fun and finding out about new things, not their dental health. So don’t make teeth brushing a chore: Turn it into a fun ritual.
Here are some tricks to help make teeth cleaning a happy experience for everyone:
1. Model Behaviour
Toddlers love mimicking what their parents do. Let your children watch you when you brush your teeth in the morning. Act a bit exaggerated – watch yourself in the mirror and try to be excited and enthusiastic while you brush, as this will encourage them to mimic you. Make sure to leave their toothbrush within easy reach, so they can copy what you’re doing.
2. Brush Teddy’s Teeth
Let your toddler play with their toothbrush. Ask her to brush teddy’s teeth or yours before brushing their own. If you turn it into a game, they are much more likely to want to do it again.
3. Get Musical
Make up a song to a familiar tune such as ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ or ‘The Wheels on The Bus’ and make it about teeth brushing. Sing it every time you brush your child’s teeth, it will make the experience a lot more fun. Or you could play a special song every time you brush their teeth and have a little dance while you do it. Aquafresh's free, brushing app can help you to do this. Captain Aquafresh and the Nurdles entertain your kids with catchy songs and dances, whilst showing them a fun and appropriate way to brush. You can even use your own tunes, while a timer counts down the recommended brushing time.
4. Brush During Story Time
If you really need to distract your toddler, why not brush their teeth during story time? They can be listening to you and looking at the pictures in the book, while you brush their teeth.
5. Choose A Special Toothbrush And Toothpaste
Choose a toddler-friendly toothbrush that is fun, and make a big deal out of it. Let your toddler choose the toothbrush when you're in the shop. This will be an extra incentive for her to get brushing. Don't forget to give lots praise and encouragement to your toddler after tooth brushing. Why not try Aquafresh Little Teeth Toothpaste, which is specially designed by dental experts for toddlers aged three to five years? Aquafresh also has a range of Little Teeth Toothbrushes, which include colourful animal clip-on bristle protectors to help engage your child in brushing, with different fun characters including Curt the Croc, Bella the Bunny, Tilly the Tiger, and Sammy the Shark!
"I made a tooth brushing chart for my two-and-a-half year old son. He was very reluctant about tooth brushing, so a chart really helped to motivate him - every time we brushed his teeth we put a special sticker onto the chart which we kept on the bathroom wall." Jane Smith.
This article is kindly sponsored by Aquafresh, experts in kids' oral health. They're helping mums make sure that children's teeth are growing up stronger, with specially developed brushes and toothpaste for each stage of the journey.