Caring for your child’s teeth can be tricky, especially during the wriggly toddler years.
A report by Aquafresh has revealed 80 per cent of children throw temper tantrums and experience anger when it’s time to brush their teeth, meaning that one in 10 parents are sending their children to bed without brushing their teeth.
Just over 25 per cent of the parents surveyed said they do not believe their children brush their teeth correctly, and just under half (42%) confessed they have to force their children to clean their teeth.
However, with a few clever techniques, you can make your toddler excited to brush their teeth. Imagine! While your tot may be happy to suck toothpaste off a brush twice a day, how do you actually get in there and make sure his teeth are properly clean?
Tips for baby and toddler toothbrushing
1) Play copycat
Clean your teeth first and then let them try to copy you. Show them how you brush by doing small circular movements, rather than brushing side to side.
Top tips to encourage calmer toothbrushing:
Make brush time fun and brush your teeth when they brush theirs. Choose a time when you are not rushing to get to the office or school, or tired at the end of a long day. Take it in turns to brush each other’s teeth (but prepare to get a bit wet!). Encourage them to open their mouths wide by roaring like a lion!
Enlist the help of a sibling or encourage a sleepover friend. Younger children often look up to older siblings or family members so if your child is reluctant to brush, having a brother, sister or buddy who enjoys cleaning their teeth can really help.
Share books that involve teeth cleaning stories, such as ‘Brush Your Teeth Please’ by Leslie McGuire. It’s a pop-up book that is great fun and practical. Another good suggestion is Ladybird’s Peppa Pig Dentist trip.
Get into the habit of using ‘when’ and ‘then.’ If getting your children to brush their teeth is a struggle, try to create a habit. For example, “when you have cleaned your teeth, then we can have a cuddle and a story in bed”.
Use apps, egg timers, gadgets and reward charts. Rather than offering sweet treats, reward good brushing with star charts and stickers with a goal to work towards after achieving 10 stickers. This can be as simple as reading their favourite book, going to the park or playing a fun game.
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