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Like every transition we’ve gone through with our kids, I’ve spent so much time worried about how to transition our preschool son to big kid toothpaste. His dentist recommended the switch months ago, and I just couldn’t figure out how to teach him to brush and spit the toothpaste out. He is almost four, so I finally quit procrastinating and bought big kid toothpaste. We chose Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry Fluoride Toothpaste because I’ve loved and trusted Tom’s of Maine products for nearly 20 years and it is the perfect fit for our family’s quests to live green. Within a few days, the we had the whole brushing and spitting thing figured out and I realized I’d wasted time worrying about nothing. Read on to find out our three easy tips for teaching preschool kids to brush their teeth to make the transition easy and painless for your kids.
First let me say, I’m no expert on dental care or kids or anything. I’m just a mom sharing what has worked for our family. Every kid is different. Please follow your dentist’s recommendations.
Three Easy Tips for Teaching Preschool Kids to Brush Their Teeth
- Take it one step at a time. We’ve been using baby toothpaste on the kids, which doesn’t contain fluoride and is safe to swallow. Switching to the fluoride toothpaste our dentist recommended meant teaching the Bear to spit out the toothpaste. We started by teaching him to spit. Daddy made this a fun game by practicing with him. We practiced several times a day for 2 days before we tried the new toothpaste. Once he was ready, we introduced the new toothpaste and practiced with it. The recommendation is just to use a pea sized amount with prechool kids, so we showed him how to put just the teeniest bit on his toothbrush, then practiced with it.
- Make it fun. Tooth brushing can be stressful for kids. They often hate it and protest it. We make it fun at our house a couple of different ways. We use Tom’s of Maine baby toothpaste with the Pearl Girl, and the Silly Strawberry kid’s toothpaste with the Bear – they both love the taste. We use fun light up toothbrushes. I sing ridiculous tooth brushing songs while they brush. We even turn off the lights and have tooth brush dance parties with our light up brushes.
- Supervise and give help. From everything I’ve read, kids need help brushing their teeth until they are 6-7, and then still should be observed until they are 10-11. Preschool kids love to be independent, so we let the Bear brush his teeth first, then have mommy/daddy’s turn. That way he feels like he is doing it on his own, but then we make sure his teeth are really getting clean. He feels like a big kid, and is learning to do it on his own.
I hope our tips help you and your family make the transition. We also use Tom’s of Maine toothpaste for the adults in our family, and love that their natural personal care and oral care products are made with no artificial colors, flavors, fragrances, or preservatives. Some of our other favorites are Antiplaque & Whitening Peppermint Fluoride Free Toothpaste, Whole Care® Peppermint and Spearmint Fluoride Toothpaste, and Unisex Long Lasting Apricot Deodorant. I’ve used their products since high school, and encourage you to think about making the switch this month in honor of Earth Month. Be sure to grab a coupon here for $1 Off Tom’s of Maine products at Walmart.
How did you teach your kids to brush their teeth?