Last week, I wrote about my silly trick for cutting toddler’s nails. As promised, I’m now sharing how we convince our two year old twins to let us brush and scrub their teeth. Just like with nail cutting, they used to happily let us scrub away at their teeth but again, something changed and brushing teeth became another battle. Sometimes they wanted to just do it themselves and other times one or the other wouldn’t even open their mouth.
Knowing you can’t rely on a toddler to effectively clean every tooth, we needed to come up with a solution that would let us do it. Maybe I’m just secretly wanting an acting career because after a bath, when they are dried and dressed for bed, mummy will go into the bathroom and out will come ‘Mummy dentist’. Surprisingly, Mummy dentist looks identical to Mummy but there is often a posh accent as I call for my first patient.
“Miss Jessica May, please come and sit on Daddy chair.” Yes that’s right, if you though me pretending to be a dentist was mad, Stu gets the coverted role of chair in our little charade. The girls will take turns to sit on Daddy chair (who also moonlights as Daddy hairdresser to save time too). “Lovely to see you today, open wide”.
I started doing this soon after our first dentist trip. I’d prepped the girls so much for what might/might not happen, that they actually enjoyed the visit and then afterwards they pretended to be dentists. I guess you have to seize the opportunity and go with it.
As I brush, I chatter away in my best dentist voice, what ever that is. “What lovely teeth you have” I say and point out that I’ve noticed the biscuit they had for snack or ice cream treat that Nanny gave them after lunch. Really all I’m doing is distracting them long enough to give every tooth a good little polish.
Even with all my dramatics, Emily sometimes still isn’t keen. I’m not sure how she could possible resist the role play but she does. However we have now discovered that if Mummy dentist asks for her to sing…Ariel style, then we have a big enough window of time to get in and get the job done. Often we are all warbling away like the little mermaid and I’m sure we could easily be snapped up as the next Von Trapp ensemble.
When both sets have been brushed, the girls have a chance to brush their own teeth. More often than not, they enjoy a bit of role reversal and Emily and Jessica dentist take the lead brushing teeth. Having your teeth scrubbed by a toddler is not the most pleasant experience and it’s surprising how sharp, a soft bristled brush can feel when it’s thrust into your gums. However, if it helps them to enjoy the routine a little more then I’m game.
Is brushing teeth a battle in your house? What tactics do you use? We are thinking of getting electric brushes for Christmas – if you have any recommendations or ones to steer clear of, I’d love to hear.