Friday, January 8, 2010

And Now, I Must Brush My Teeth

One thing about having small children is that you must brush their teeth for them. Simply leaving it up to them is not an option if you want them to have clean teeth, and for you to have a clean bathroom.

Small children are generally incapable of getting their teeth brushed alone without a lot of water and toothpaste spread about the vicinity. Also, their technique is not yet refined enough to achieve the desired results.

My youngest two are generally cooperative about this endeavor, though they might protest at first. Last night my son, 3 1/2 years, came upstairs after being put to bed, a nightly ritual. His teeth had not been brushed.

"Oliver," I said, "We need to brush your teeth."

"No. I don't want to brush my teeth today," was his certain reply.

At which point I said something like this: "Oliver, do you know what cavities are? (He shook his head.) They are little germs that get on your teeth and if you don't brush your teeth the cavities can eat your teeth all gone."

He pondered this for a moment. Seriously, watching a three year-old ponder something is the best. I could see him thinking through the consequences. This is the boy who doesn't like having his hair cut, because his fear is that it will be all gone when I am done. I could see him playing out similar consequences in his head regarding his teeth. Hmmm. No more teeth?

"Mom," he said, "Let's go brush my teeth."

And so we did.

Now, if only potty training would be as easy.


  1. Very much enjoyed this story.

  2. One of my kids - and I won't write which - HATED having us brush his/her teeth, so it became a two adult job - one too pin the kid down and the other to briskly brush the little goober's teeth. What a grand time THAT was!

  3. Haha! How long did he ponder? He must've been very cute back then! I actually have a nephew who acts the same! These kids should be taught how to brush their teeth at an early age. That way, they'll get used to it! ;)

  4. He reminded me of my nephew! Hahaha! In the past, I always had a hard time convincing him to brush his teeth. But when I drew how cavities looked like, he got scared, so he let his mom buy him toothbrush and toothpaste.

  5. The thought that cavities will eat all his teeth away definitely pushed your son to brush his teeth. Of course, he doesn’t want to lose his teeth! Now, he is motivated to regularly brush his teeth even without you reminding him. Great idea!

    -Nannie Livingstone

  6. Teaching kids at a young age how to properly take care of their oral hygiene is a must. It is best to form a good habit while they are young so that they’ll carry it when they grow up. Never miss a chance to guide your son, and constantly remind him of the consequences if he refuses to brush his teeth regularly.

    -Landon Heath

  7. Additionally, you can try to make their brushing more fun and educational. Don’t let them feel like it’s a daily chore. Buy them a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character on it. Or, you may want to create a song about brushing the teeth, and sing with them while they brush their teeth.