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We’ve been mostly lucky in the teeth department. Except I didn’t think that when my son started teething early and often. He had all of his baby teeth a few months before he turned 2-years-old, and just before his second birthday, he visited a dentist for the first time. (The dentist visit was a bit traumatic – for a few minutes – but she gave us a lot of tips and assured me we were doing a good job taking care of our boy.)
Some nights are not so easy. And mornings are fairly difficult amidst the chaos of getting out the door to make sure his teeth are in tip-top shape.
(Yes, we have three toothbrushes. We actually have five, but I only photographed three.)
I finally thought of a few tips for brushing toddler teeth (things that worked for us):
1. Brush teeth during bath time, or directly after bath time (before leaving the bathroom.)
2. Let the toddler “help” or brush after you brush for them.
3. Silly songs. Make up songs about teeth.
4. Distract the toddler (books, a show? something that keeps them entertained, but lets you get access to their teeth.)
5. Use the Oral-B Disney Timer app to countdown the brushing time.
We started brushing his teeth when he had just a couple of teeth. We brushed with just a bit of water, and eventually started using a toothpaste with no fluoride. He loved brushing his teeth! We would stand in front of the mirror and I would sing “brush brush brush” to him (just something I made up.) I occasionally rapped “this is how we brush our teeth.” As he got older, it became more of a challenge.
It’s always easiest to brush his teeth when he’s in the bathtub. I just have to make sure that he isn’t going to drink anything or snack after his bath. But he’ll let me brush his teeth while he’s in the tub. Unfortunately, he doesn’t take a bath 7 nights a week (some nights just don’t warrant a bath time.) So what do we do if I don’t have water to distract him?
I allow him to sit on the big potty or little potty. He’s in the very early stages of potty training, and the potty is a big deal for him. And he can flush the big potty AFTER I brush his teeth. (Also a very big deal.)
Sometimes I bribe him with a partial episode of one of his shows. Or extra books before we turn the lights out. Whatever it takes.
He can brush his teeth after I brush. This makes him feel more involved and I think he feels older, more independent, when I have him brush his own teeth. Oh, and he loves to have his tongue brushed! So I often tell him that I’ll brush his tongue if he’ll let me get the back teeth.
And just recently I downloaded the Oral-B Disney Timer app. This app has been a game changer for me. We scan the toothbrush we’re going to use that evening (we have a variety of brushes because sometimes we want Piglet and sometimes we need Tigger to help us.) The app recognizes the brush and pulls up a picture to “brush.” Then it counts down 2 minutes, while the toothbrush clears the toothpaste away to reveal a picture.
We’ve only gotten through a few pictures, so I haven’t unlocked several books on the app yet. But my boy wants to do it over every time. He loves looking back at the pictures we’ve uncovered. I’m also a little more anxious to get toothbrushes that aren’t Winnie the Pooh-themed. What will those pictures reveal??
The app includes a calendar and it encourages him to brush twice daily for two minutes. I’ve always been lucky to get him to sit for me, for one minute. Never mind two whole minutes. And last night when the timer finished, he put his brush down and said, “all done!” It’s just the cutest. And I hope the fun doesn’t wear off any time soon.
Does your child take teeth brushing seriously or is it a challenge for you to brush for them? Have you tried the Oral-B Disney Timer app yet?