Making Toddler Brushing Fun

This post was sponsored by Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are my own.

TOOTHPASTE! TOOTHBRUSH! A little water (not to much!)…


If you have a toddler and access to the Disney channel you’re probably {at least somewhat} familiar with Doc McStuffins. And if you have a toddler that loves Doc McStuffins songs as much mine does, you’ve probably heard the lyrics to the ditty referenced above.


As someone who could be considered borderline obsessed with her teeth, once Adelyn’s mouth started to suddenly fill with pearly whites I went into semi-panic mode on how to find a way to get her to actually sit down and focus on letting me brush her teeth. If you have a toddler or are around one, well, ever, you know the words “toddler” and “sit down and focus” typically create an oxy moron. (Unless of course it’s something she wants to focus on. Then the intensity of her focus is truly an astounding sight to take in at 1 ½.)


I love brushing my teeth. My morning cannot commence without a morning brush, then if I eat breakfast they need a second take. I keep a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste in a drawer at work, so I usually brush after lunch, after dinner and again before bed if I had a glass of wine or a snack in between my last brushing. I know that’s probably a tad overboard, but I just hate that stale feeling my mouth gets with lingering food flavors, and I noticed that if I chew gum I drink a lot less water in a day.


So I brush ‘em, brush ‘em. A lot.


Aside from brushing, I/we initiated some pretty good habits for Adelyn right away. She’ll have years to create her own bad habits, so we can at least start her off in the right direction, right?


My first rule with Adelyn is little to no sugar. This isn’t too hard for me because I’ve never been someone with a real sweet tooth, so I don't even think to offer sweet things. Every once in awhile I crave some chocolate, but it seems the older I get the less I really care about the sweets (if only I could get rid of my love for salty snacks!). Some people may think I’m being crazy strict to limit sugar to such an extreme for a one and a half-year-old, but sugar is just a bad habit all around, from diet to the toll on the enamel of her teeth. And when I say little to no sugar, I’m talking I don’t even let her have juice. I borderline even freak out in the summer over icy pops with 6g of sugar in them. To me it's just unnecessary when plenty of sugar is already deposited into that little body through fresh fruit.


Second was figuring out how to get her to actually let me brush her teeth and enjoy the process. While she likes to copy anything Mom and Dad do, when it came to brushing our teeth together she would still think it was funnier to try to yank my toothbrush out of my mouth or shove hers into my mouth. It just didn’t work for us for brushing her teeth. Her pediatrician recommended brushing in the bath because it takes away my fear of her walking around with the toothbrush in her mouth, so we tried that a few times and that toothbrush just ended up in the bath water and her brushing it on the bottom of the tub.


I don’t care how clean a bathtub is, that’s just gross.


FINALLY a Doc McStuffins episode came on called Brontosaurus Breath and there was a 43 second song in the middle about brushing your teeth you can listen to it here. Jackpot.


Now I’d be lying if I said my ham of a toddler didn’t like to drop it like it’s hot similar (yet not rhythmically similar at all) to her mama, so a peppy song like this one will always get her immediate attention. Since I obviously don’t want to run through the DVR recording to find the song every time we’re going to brush her teeth, I downloaded the song to my phone and now she just swings her feet to the music as we listen to it on repeat 2-3 times to complete her brushing routine.

I recently started using Tom’s of Maine Toddler Training Toothpaste. Compared to your tooth enamel, your toddler’s is 50% thinner, which is why they need a little extra care and attention. Tom’s of Maine created a new product that’s fluoride-free with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives so it’s safe to swallow when used in the quantities the directions state. The clear gel gently cleans her little teeth and gums without SLS or propylene glycol, just an extra added benefit. It has a mild fruit flavor, so Adelyn loves the taste.


My favorite fact about Tom’s of Maine is the way it sources its ingredients for all the products in its line. Each ingredient represents the company’s belief in sustainable farming practices, rejection of animal testing and leaving anything artificial at the wayside. Not to mention everything is developed right here in the U.S., and as you all know I like to support our economy when possible. Oh, and the price point is right in line with all the other training toothpastes on the market, so why not go a little more natural?


Speaking of natural, naturally, I realize we’ll be helping her brush her teeth for quite some time yet, but I feel like we’ve overcome a big hurdle just by gaining her attention long enough to really get them brushed. We’ve made it a habit to brush her teeth every morning and night, so it’s also helping with her bedtime routine where she now knows we head into her room after brushing.


Do you have something that works particularly well in this newbie-to-brushing stage?

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© 2013 by Heather Anders : Meet Me on the Intersection of Richmond & Style.