Having good teeth is very important for me. I’ve made it this far in life with no fillings and I want to keep it that way if at all possible. Luckily my parents bought me up to clean my teeth regularly and there was limited sugar in my diet. Pop was a weekend treat and the same was pretty much true of sweets and chocolate, although trips to Grandma’s usually involved something from the sweet jar. The same is true of H really. His normal drink is water and pop is a treat (we don’t keep it in the house). He does have sweets and chocolate, but he doesn’t eat masses of them. Apart from regular teeth cleaning, we also visit the dentist for checkups. H goes twice a year and I go once (I think it is because I am low risk of developing problems).
Our main struggle though is making sure H cleans his teeth twice a day. He does sometimes forget and getting him to brush for 2 minutes was quite difficult at times. With hindsight I think it was because we weren’t making it enough fun. Recently, Oasis Dental Care, a leading provider of NHS and private dental care, got in touch to challenge us to ‘Brush up on Brushing’. It has been a bit of a revelation. Up to now we had just kept plodding away at reminding H to clean his teeth, but since we started making it more fun, it hasn’t been a chore, in fact it’s made life easier.
We were sent an electric toothbrush to use. Now I have never used one and whilst I’d thought of getting one for H a few times, I just wasn’t sure it was worth it. I did wonder if he would really use it. He has loved it. I think because it has been fun to use and because it’s easier to prance around the bathroom holding it, he has really got on well with it. The other day I came back, earlier than expected, to find the bedtime routine in full flow, including some dancing to heavy rock music as H cleaned his teeth. It seems Daddy does things a bit differently to Mummy.
- a reward chart with stickers for each teeth cleaning session
- egg timer to time teeth cleaning (we should all brush for 2 minutes, but I was surprised to find that my usual teeth cleaning routine didn’t last quite that long so it’s worth using one to keep an eye on that).
Oasis Dental Care gave us some other tips about dental health including
- Using a straw to drink fizzy drinks to limit the contact between teeth and liquid
- Include dairy products within your child’s diet
- Explain that your child needs to brush the back teeth as well as the front.
I think though what we learned from the ‘Brush up on Brushing’ challenge is that if you make teeth cleaning fun, it will be done.