‘Come on Harry I will sing your favourite song…It just takes two minutes’ I am now running around the house after my two year old singing Fireman Sam with a toothbrush.
I feel helpless, I cant let him not brush his teeth and forcing a toothbrush in his mouth may traumatise him for life! I have visions of him at the dentist…the dentist looks at me with disgust…your such a bad mum, he needs them all pulled….Arghhhhh!!
I’ve not had this problem before, my eldest is so good when it come to brushing his teeth. We have a little routine, mum brushes and sings first and then my eldest gives his teeth a once over…simple right!
Well it has not been so easy with my youngest, he likes to play with the toothbrush and toothpaste but then he screams and runs away if I try to brush his teeth. I have tired everything from singing to pulling silly faces…nothing works. I felt beaten until I come across Tips on Tooth brushing from the Welsh Government Give it Time Campaign that I am currently promoting.
When should I start tooth brushing?
- Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they come through. The first baby tooth usually comes through at about 6 months but it may be some months later.
- Take your child to the dentist by the age of 2 at the latest – the dental team can give you help and advice on keeping teeth healthy.
How should I do it?
- Choose a brush with a small head and soft bristles.
- Brush twice a day – in the morning and always before bed
- For children 6 months to 3 years – Use a smear of child’s toothpaste with 1000 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride (shown on the toothpaste pack). For children over 3 years – use a pea-sized amount of “family” toothpaste with 1350 to 1500 ppm fluoride.
- You will need to supervise your child’s tooth brushing until they are at least 7 years old.
- Never leave a child alone with a toothbrush – they may trip and hurt their mouth – and don’t let your child eat toothpaste.
- Brushing your child’s teeth
- Sit your child on your lap with her head resting on your elbow – you can support her head and see the teeth.
- Clean the teeth gently one section at a time – don’t forget the back teeth.
- Wipe away excess toothpaste. Older children can spit out excess toothpaste, but don’t rinse with water. This washes away the toothpaste and stops it from working really well.
What can I do if my child won’t allow me to brush their teeth?
- Let your child see you brushing your teeth. Young children love to copy.
- Make a game of it – brush your teeth and then let your child brush your teeth. Then you brush your child’s teeth.
- Use a mirror and clean their teeth from behind so they can watch what you are doing.
- Make brushing part of the bedtime routine. If your child is tired after a bath try brushing before bathing or even during bathing.
- Let your child choose their own toothbrush, but make sure it’s suitable for children
- If using a toothbrush is difficult, try using a smear of toothpaste on a clean dry flannel wrapped around your finger. You can move onto a toothbrush when your child is more confident.
- Using sounds can make tooth brushing fun. Ask your child to make ‘teee’ sounds when you clean their front teeth, and ‘ahhh’ sounds for the back teeth.
- Singing can also help. Let them choose a song for you to sing when they brush. You may also like to use a tooth brush timer which helps children to see they are brushing their teeth for long enough to get them clean (about 1 to 2 minutes). Tooth brush timers are available with colourful characters to make it more fun.
- Books about tooth brushing and visiting the dentist are available and videos of other children brushing can be found on the internet.
If you’re still having problems, talk to your health visitor or see your dentist.
So as you can see there are a number of things I can try this evening and fingers crossed bedtime should be less stressful.
You can find out more about the Give it Time Campaign by clicking HERE
Welsh Government needs your help!!
The aim is to use tips received from parents in the next phase of the campaign, for resources and as part of media and PR activities. Parents and carers need to feel supported and know that they are not alone. By hearing from other parents – you can help provide a more ‘real’ feel to the campaign as we head into the next phase by taking part in a short survey.
To take part in the survey please click HERE