Brushing your kids teeth, as we all know, is very important but in reality, getting them to learn to do it themselves or even trying to pry their mouths open to give them a helping hand can be a huge challenge. To ease the strain mamas and to make sure you don’t skip a session at the sink through mere frustration, we’ve put together some tips to help you on your tricky journey and to make sure your kids are on the right path to healthy oral hygiene routines.
First thing’s first – make tooth-brushing fun for your children with a toothbrush/toothpaste that they’ll look forward to using. We LOVE the Jack N Jill range of natural calendula toothpastes with organic flavours including banana, blackcurrant and raspberry (makes the kids want to brush their teeth at every opportunity) and their compostable and biodegradable toothbrushes (bye bye plastic) – all available at Organic Foods and Café, Db Babies and The Change Initiative. Little ones still not keen to get brushing? These tactics might help…
A Star Chart
Start a special reward chart for your children so they can see how well they are doing, and offer a small prize if they get all their stars… Not only will the praise spur them on, a little bribe of a token pressie never hurt anyone!
Humming tunes of favourite songs is always a winner. Its also gets your child opening and closing their mouth and gives you the opportunity to reach all the teeth, both back and front. For older children, you can sing a song whilst they brush. Singing to the tune of row your boat is a very popular one “Brush, brush, brush your teeth gently to and fro. Up and down back and forth, brush them til they glow.” And repeat!
Brushing the teeth of your child’s dolls or teddy bears will teach them to be responsible. Most kids adore pretend play and it will encourage them to be more receptive when it’s their turn.
Use animal noise games to get your little one to open their mouth. Roaring like a lion and hissing like a snake are fun and will ensure you don’t miss any of those baby gnashers.
Colourful and Fun Toothbrushes
Have a pot of 3 different coloured toothbrushes and let your little one choose the colour that they want, or let them choose in the supermarket. Toddlers love being independent and it will help if it makes them feel all grown up.
Books about brushing
Tired and brain fried from multi tasking all day mamas? Well if you can’t think of your own stories to tell your little one (Prince and princesses beating the cavity baddies in the castle, or such like), then do yourself a favour mamas and head down to the bookshop or library. You can find plenty of books that can help inspire and educate your tots and here are our top 3 picks:
- Brush Brush Brush by Alicia Padron
- Brush Your Teeth Please by Leslie McGuire
- I Know Why I Brush My Teeth by Kate Rowan
Other tips to ensure your child starts enjoying brushing their teeth:
Use correct amount of toothpaste
Large amounts of toothpaste can cause lots of foam in a child’s mouth and will make them uncomfortable. A child under 2 years old should only have a smear of toothpaste on their brush, and over 2 year olds should have a pea-size amount.
Learn by example
Let your child watch you whilst you brush your teeth. Kids love to imitate their mama so a game of copycat will certainly help them on their way!
This is one of the best parenting techniques around and it works for brushing teeth too. Whether it’s with a book, toy or even allowing them to hold a second toothbrush whilst you brush, it is almost always guaranteed to work wonders so give it a try!
Apps for Brushing
Thanks to technology, brushing can be even easier for both mamas and little ones. Here are three top interactive apps that will make brushing exciting and effective… and they are free too!
TIME 2 BRUSH
Time2Brush is a popular app and comes to you from Aquafresh. It is both fun and educational, teaching your child where to brush his teeth and for how long (with a stopwatch counting down the seconds). If you complete the cycle well then your child will receive points which they can accumulate and use to buy accessories for their Toothpaste Man (Nurdle) – think hat, shoes, glasses and tops! Well let’s be honest mamas, kids do love a game with a bit of shopping on the side, so why not?!
This NHS approved app plays 2 minutes of music from your iPhone and has a visual display of where to brush – its makes brushing fun as well as ensuring you reach all those pearly whites in your little ones mouth. It also allows you to set reminders of when to brush teeth, when to change their toothbrushes, and when to book the next visit to the dentist.
This app is perfect to ensure those gnashers get a proper scrub. It offers the usual fun music and great graphics, but also presents an adjustable timer, which lets face it mamas is really handy, especially for those kids who spend half the time spitting out or laughing/crying in between…
Going to the Dentist
Most children find going to the dentist a very frightening experience. To help them understand what’s in store for them, you might want to read them a book or let them watch something that calms the nerves. For example, Peppa Pig has an episode called “The Dentist” which is educational, fun and reassuring.
The last step is to choose a good, child friendly dentist, and we’ve rounded up a few for you to investigate. Good luck and remember to keep those pearly whites shiny and bright!
Dr Michael’s Dental Clinics
Dr Michael’s Children’s Clinic is one of the most popular dentists in Dubai and is particularly renowned in its sector for its dedication to painless dentistry for kids. They use water lase treatment so no drills and needles and therefore much happier children all round. The clinic also has a great little play area in reception and some bikes in the grassed courtyard for some pre and post check up fun.
Dr Michael’s Dental Clinic, Umm Suqeim/Jumeirah, (+971)(0) 4 339 7700, www.drmichaels.com
Drs. Nicolas & ASP
This team certainly know how to make your tots feel calm and comfortable at all times. They have a great bedside manner with your children as well as a supreme team of highly qualified technicians. Their commitment to preventative pediatric dentistry positions them as one of the top in their field.
Dubai London Clinic Dental Centre
Offering the full spectrum of dental services to adults and children, this clinic is certainly one of the go-to dental centres for both routine check ups and dentistry. They are also highly committed to dental health education and prevention. Dr Nora Powell, who has been with the practice for many years, is friendly, informative and is loved by children, so make sure you book her in advance!
Jumeira Beach Dental Center
This clinic is great for all the family; they are just as dedicated to adults as they are to children. The friendly down-to-earth staff and technician’s make you feel totally at ease and they really commit to educating their clients as well as offering cost effective check ups and high end dentistry care.
Jumeira Beach Dental Center, Jumeirah 1, Opposite Jumeirah Beach Center, Villa No 110, 53650 Dubai, (+971)(0) 4 349 5444, www.jumeirabeachdental.com
The Children’s Medical Centre
You can expect nothing short of the best at this clinic as they offer a positive and comfortable experience for children in a really fun environment. They build great trust relationships with your little ones so expect previous tantrums when you mention the word ‘dentist’ to disappear. Yipee! Mamas in the know highly recommend pediatric dentist, Dr Agnes Roze at The Children’s Medical Centre for her kind nature and flawless dentistry care.
The Children’s Medical Centre, 1064 Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 2, Dubai, (+971)(0) 4 328 2664, www.tcmcdubai.com