As soon as babies are able to grab, they will - more often than not - reach for a toothbrush if one is shown to them. Better still, they'll put that toothbrush straight to their mouth and seemingly insist on brushing their own teeth (or tooth)... or, at least, they'll chew on it and lick the toothpaste. It's a great start, though!
The question is, do you let them brush by themselves and count the job as done? Or, do you grab the toothbrush back from them and do the job yourself? Or (so many choices, I know) do you share half and half in the brushing?
Well, as much as we don’t really want to get into a grabbing match with them, preferring to feel proud that they're achieving this little milestone all on their own, we have to understand that children under the age of seven to eight-years-old do not (or extremely rarely) have the manual dexterity needed to brush their own teeth effectively.
What this means is that they may move their arm up and down, with the brush in their mouth, but are they actually applying the bristles to their teeth? Are those bristles going where they're meant to, in a motion that's going to clean their teeth? It's a little like expecting a child to paint a Van Gogh - the expression and 'artistic flair' is there, but... is it art?
To ensure their oral and dental hygiene, little ones need adults to brush for them, or - at the very least - assist them in brushing.
Believe me, even just a teeny blob - the size of a rice grain - of fluoride toothpaste for a child too young to spit can certainly clean those sugar bugs away! Just ask Bella, from No Place for Sugar Bugs! She's an expert on making sure those critters don't use her mouth for a party venue! She knows that brushing twice a day (after breakfast and dinner) in circular motions along the gum-line helps massage the gums and remove any plaque that may be hiding near the margins of the teeth.
While some people like to sing in the shower, Bella likes to sing the Sugar Bugs Song before (and during, apparently) brushing her teeth. For fun, I've made an interactive eBook for children, that allows them to hear the sugar bugs in action, and sing-a-long with Bella. Visit Amazon to download the enhanced audio version No Place for Sugar Bugs!
See, brushing can be fun! If you have any questions or great suggestions on how you get your kids to routinely brush their teeth, feel free to share them with us in the comments.
No Place for Sugar Bugs - with Audio