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Say ‘Aah’

With how much sugar kids consume these days, it’s a crime if they go to bed without brushing their teeth. It’s also no lie that getting children to brush their teeth is a hassle itself. It’s a monotonous task that requires standing still and kids might find this dull, especially if they were hyper for a large part of the day.

As adults, we know how important it is getting our teeth cleaned twice a day but children might not understand the reason behind it and make it a trial for both themselves and their poor parents. Picture a defiant child refusing to have their teeth brushed and a frazzled parent trying to coax them holding a toothbrush. No one wants a hullabaloo before bedtime!

What could possibly explain why children dislike brushing their teeth so much? There are plenty of reasons and below are a few narrowed down: 

  • Its painful: this makes sense. Putting a random bristly object inside your mouth and being ordered to have it move up and down could potentially be bewildering as a first-time experience. This can especially be worse for children who have sore gums and teeth and would rather leave their teeth untouched. 
  • The flavour of toothpaste could make for a very distasteful experience and have every bedtime routine dreadfully anticipated.
  • It’s boring. Simple as that. Plus, children have this habit of ditching whatever they find a mundane task. Imagine entering the washroom and finding a toothbrush half smeared with toothpaste left in the sink countertop?
  • They don’t understand the reasoning behind it. This is where their guardians come in hand. 
  • Are you brushing your teeth as well? Kids usually play monkey see, monkey do. Do they see you brushing your teeth?

Here are solutions to the above which might be of help!

  • If your child does have sore gums and teeth, it’s best to visit the dentist before things spiral out of control. If they just find it an uncomfortable experience, allow them to be gentle with the toothbrush on their teeth so they perhaps may get used to the feeling. Have them move the brush back and forth in gentle strokes.
  • Change the flavour of the toothpaste to options such as a fruit flavour like strawberry or vanilla. Make sure they spit out the residues and rinse thoroughly so that toothpaste isn’t swallowed. Darlie Jolly Junior oral care range is an example of the perfect choice for oral care of baby teeth suitable for kids from 2-6 years and 6-12 years aimed at strengthening teeth and preventing cavities. Their toothpaste contains food grade ingredients, no added sugar and formulated with fluoride and calcium for anti-cavity activity. Ther toothpaste comes in child friendly flavours and their oral care range is plastered with adorable cartoon characters like Rilakumma. Additionally their toothbrushes have soft bristles that gently clean your kids mouth and have a soft grip handle.
  • Compared to the rest of their day, brushing their teeth falls short on an entertaining level; they’d rather spend their bedtime listening to bedtime stories. Of course, brushing teeth doesn’t have to hinder anything. You can engage with your child by telling them funny, interesting stories to keep them entertained while they brush (albeit not distracted that toothpaste starts dripping from their mouth). You can even play a tooth-brushing game with an app or sing along to a cheesy toothbrushing song. I personally have heard parents say that the storytelling songs found on the YouTube channel, Cocomelon are particularly enjoyed by kids and are very effective in getting a message across. Plaque disclosing tablets are an enjoyable form of getting your kids to brush their teeth. Once the tablets are chewed on, it dyes your teeth in a particular fun color like blue, purple or pink. Play along with your child and tell them that whoever gets rid of most of the color in their teeth wins the game. 
  • Before getting into toothbrushing, it would be a good idea to explain to your child the importance of it all. Kids are still young so have them simply know why it’s important that they get their teeth brushed. Points such as ‘to keep your teeth nice and clean’,’to freshen up your breath’ can be used and avoid tumbling into the depths of gum diseases, cavities which might do more harm than good. No matter how stubborn they remain, keep informing them in a gentle manner and it would be preferable to not step into the ‘if you don’t brush your teeth, you’ll have to go to the dentist’ zone. This might only trigger negative thoughts and have them abandon teeth brushing altogether. Additionally, don’t be ashamed to use electric toothbrushes to facilitate your child’s brushing if they don’t clean their teeth efficiently with a manual one. As long as it’s handled properly, they can work just as well to clear out plaque and decay. Ultimately, it all depends on which tool gets the job done well and how comfortable your child is!
  • Is your child mimicking your behaviour? Do they see you brushing your teeth? Have a good look at yourself and set an example. Make sure they see you brushing your teeth or brush your teeth together so they see it as an ordinary experience instead of something paranormal that feels like they’re only subjected to do.

The next article will focus on 3 diseases related to oral health or how I like to call it -’ The Holy Triniteeth’. Stay tuned for more updates!

F. Sameeha. A. Hamid


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