One area where many of us aren’t doing so great as parents: keeping our children’s teeth healthy.
Tooth decay in baby teeth has been on the rise since the mid 1990s, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, reversing a prior two-decade downward trend. And nearly half of U.S. children ages 2 to 11 years old have had cavities in their baby teeth, according to National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
My 4-year-old daughter is unfortunately part of that trend, already having had cavities. My children brush their teeth twice a day (with adult help), and I like to think a propensity for cavities is genetic. But I admit that my kids sometimes rush through, or skip, one of their daily brushes and getting them to brush properly was long a struggle.
However, teeth brushing in our house has vastly improved lately, thanks to new toothbrushes we have that encourage proper brushing while making the daily hygiene chore fun. These toothbrushes make up today’s hint.
Toothbrushes with built-in timers. My daughter now brushes for at least two minutes. Why? Her Firefly Hello Kitty ReadyGo toothbrush features a stoplight of sorts, that flashes green, yellow and then red over a minute, to let her know when she’s brushed each row of teeth for 60 seconds. This model, designed to build “good brushing habits,” is just one of many kid toothbrushes on the market with built-in timers that make kids actually want to devote the right amount of time to cleaning their teeth.
Puppet toothbrushes. My kids were not fans of the finger toothbrushes I used to brush their teeth during their early years, and brushing their first few teeth was always a struggle. This is why I so love the Brushies, a new twist on those finger toothbrushes that I recently tested, and wish I had them back when my kids were babies. They’re toothbrushes masquerading as four finger puppets with an accompanying storybook, and are meant to bring playtime into brushtime for babies and toddlers.
What toothbrushes would you add to this list? What tips do you have for encouraging kids to brush?