In our house, with four kids under the age of six, (flexible!) routines are essential to our day and that includes taking care of our teeth! I've used Tom's of Maine products most of my life and choose their products for my kids, too. Did you know Tom's of Maine is the #1 natural kids toothpaste brand? There's a reason why – they use only naturally derived ingredients, and the products are free from of artificial dyes, preservatives, fragrances and sweeteners and no animal testing.
My boys (ages 1, 2, and 4) love Silly Strawberry toothpaste (I appreciate that there are options with and without fluoride), and my daughter Carmen (6) uses Wicked Cool! toothpaste…being the oldest, she likes to choose the "grown up" mint flavor. For myself, I choose Whole Care toothpaste and Wicked Fresh mouthwash.
Our morning and bedtime routines each include dedicated time for brushing, and we even sometimes take a midday break to brush, using fluoride-free toothpaste so the kids can practice. With four children, I'm no stranger to the challenges of keeping little smiles healthy. Here's what I've learned along the way in case it may help you!
- Start them young. Start brushing (any way you can!) as soon as your baby gets his or her first tooth. It can seem a little silly brushing just a single tooth or two, but I've found the earlier you start, the quicker it becomes a normal part of the routine. Plus, showing them how important it is to brush twice a day can save a lot of time in the long run!
- Be consistent but make it fun. I find brushing time goes best when it's a regular part of our average day…but adding some excitement always helps. 😊 Turns out, the bathroom can be fun! At our house, we bathe twice a day. City people or those who live in tough climates know that on a rainy day when everyone is cooped up, taking a bath can be a great reprieve. The kids can splash and play…then, depending on their energy level, sometimes my kids brush their teeth right in the bath. One of my friends taught me to tell them there are "sugar bugs" in their mouth. We pretend we're trying to find them and guess what they look like… the boys love it.
- Foster independence. It's up to us as parents to teach our kids how to brush their teeth so they can learn over time to do it independently. I try to involve my kids as much as possible…you could try letting them pick out their own toothbrush or brush your teeth along with them. With my nephew, I used to have him brush my teeth while I brushed his. We of course still help along the way, but kids 100% like to feel useful and that they are doing it themselves.
- Be patient and lead with confidence. Don't expect that your kids are going to immediately say, "sure, I'll let you put a toothbrush with this funny paste in my mouth." Be patient, because it's usually a phase. Just like getting a picky eater to expand their palate, the parent has to be the lead…and lead with confidence. You might not get your way every single time – sometimes I'm chasing my kids around the room with a toothbrush – but if you stay consistent, they will eventually want to do it. Plus, as much as I hold them accountable, they hold me accountable, too. It helps to show that they're not the only ones who have to follow the rules…Mommy does too.
- Learn as you go. None of us are going to get it right all the time. It's OK not to have all the answers and to ask questions. Give yourself a little break because parenting can be so stressful! With four kids, I've learned a little each time. I'm not an expert, but I'm a little more confident. From choosing how to introduce food to selecting personal care products, don't be afraid to ask questions, do your research and then go with your gut. All the little daily choices we make now prepare us for more difficult choices down the road.
Need a little help getting silly at the bathroom sink? Check out the Silly Brushing Song to encourage good habits. What works at your house? Share your tips and tricks with us on Instagram @toms_of_maine with #SillyBrushing. Good luck and happy brushing!
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I'm so crazy about tooth brushing—for both my kids and myself. I've never had a cavity…so not only do I want to keep that up, but I want that for my kids, too. It's important to me to use toothpaste with naturally derived ingredients, and that's why we love @toms_of_maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste. Tooth brushing can be tricky with some kids. Mine were not always for it...we make it fun by looking for "sugar bugs" in their mouths. Usually I will begin brushing and then let them finish. They feel very grown up this way 😂😍. They love the flavor of #SillyStrawberry toothpaste and I feel good knowing that it's made without artificial flavors, dyes or sweeteners💫 Plus, it's easy to find at stores like Target. How do you get your kids to brush? #sillybrushing #tomsofmaine