You’ve tried it all. Upbeat songs, a timer, rewards, picture cards… The reality is that most children don’t exactly love tooth brushing, even though their parents have (sometimes desperately!) tried every tip and trick. Dental care is an important personal and social skill. Not only that, when a child adopts a regular tooth brushing schedule it helps build independence. Though you probably don’t remember it, the joy you felt from brushing your teeth by yourself for the very first time was empowering. It’s important that we make tasks such as tooth brushing a positive experience.
One way to tackle tooth brushing is by practicing on something other than the child’s own mouth. A fun visual tool can help children understand what the toothbrush does while it’s in their mouth. Another plus to this practice is letting the child get used to holding the toothbrush on their own.
Take an empty egg container, for example, and turn it upside down. These will act as your teeth. Whipped cream can be used to replicate toothpaste. Feel free to use another substitute if your child has an allergy or sensory need.
Spray the whipped cream on the egg container and tooth brush. Encourage the child to “brush the teeth.” You can model the action first, but let your child try the task independently.
If the child moves the tooth brush to their mouth, that is great! Because whipped cream is a treat, they will probably want to try it on their own teeth. Make sure you’re asking the child to mimic the same brushing movement on their teeth. Ask questions like, “Have you brushed every tooth?” and “Did you brush the ones in the front?”
Although your child shouldn’t be using whipped cream to brush their teeth, it should be a easy transition tool for using toothpaste. If you have more than one child, try turning this activity into a game to see who can brush the most teeth. Tried this activity before? Have an idea of your own? Please share in the comment section!