Happy Habits: the ‘how to’ of teeth brushing for toddlers
Establishing a regular and effective teeth brushing habit might seem like a fairly simple process, but the reality is (like anything requiring toddler participation) likely to be challenge. One that probably alternates between refusal, tantrums and half-hearted tooth brush chewing at best.
It’s not surprising then, that research* indicates less than a third of children are brushing their teeth twice a day, leaving them at risk for serious dental problems later in life. The implications are that 48% of three-to-five-year-olds have tooth decay, with 55% of three to five-year olds already having had a filling.** The NHS guidelines that teeth should be brushed twice a day, including once before sleeping. Dentists recommend brushing for a full two minutes, and official guidelines suggest that parents should monitor or assist with their children’s brushing until they are ten years old, to help instil good brushing habits and ensure that technique is correct. There are a few approaches that parents can take to help their children get into good habits. These include: Make it fun Anything that seems like a chore is going to instantly become a battle with your child, so it is important to make brush time as fun as possible. One approach is the Playbrush Smart - a manual toothbrush attachment which connects to a number of games via the Playbrush tablet/smartphone app. Use a timer Using a 2-minute timer in the bathroom and reward charts for younger children are both very effective ways to create a familiar routine that they will be less likely to forget as they gain independence. Brush your own teeth at the same time Children love to impersonate their parents, and the best way to instil a tooth brushing habit is to lead by example. Choose a paste they like If kids like the taste of their paste, they are more likely to want to use it. Opt for a natural brand such as Jack and Jill which tastes great and contains none of the chemicals of standard paste (important when you consider how much might inadvertently be swallowed). Sponsored by Playbrush.