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I try to get my children to brush their teeth, ever night and every morning, but it is tough! When you have a 9-year-old that you tell brush your teeth and she comes back and you know she hasn’t, then the argument starts. She either isn’t using toothpaste or using some other instrument (more likely a Q-tip – I know, don’t ask) or she just runs the water. Then, you have a 3-year-old who will either try to brush her teeth, but ends up sucking the water out of the bristles, or just refuses too.
Everyone says pick your battles, but this one I have to win – but again, it is really hard. Some toothbrushes are helpful – the flashing to let you know when it has been about 2 minutes; songs that play for about that long; the battery-operated ones (which my girls seems to like) and the colorful ones, too. It helps with the older one to know if she has brushed or not, because you can just tell. The younger one, not so much. You have to brush their teeth for them (if they will let you) or try to show them by letting them brush your teeth or you let them brush your teeth and then you brush some of theirs – it just becomes lengthy (as I am sure you know).
This year the American Dental Association (ADA) has created a campaign called “Defeat Monster Mouth” with catchy posters and of course coloring pages or activities for younger children even. I love the poster and the characters that help to defeat “Plaqster the Monster for good health.” For children who do not even have teeth we are encouraged to brush their gums and as they get teeth we should brush them and when they hit about 3 years of age you should be brushing and helping them.
However, when I read on the National Education Association (NEA) that students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. And students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who do not. This hit home for me, anyway. I do what I can.
To be honest, though, when you are trying to get your kids ready for school – you know the routine – get out of bed, then go back later – I thought I told you to get out of bed and get dressed (please wear something warmer – you will be cold) – what do you want for breakfast? No you can’t have chocolate for breakfast – you get cereal, a pop-tart, pancakes (pre-made mind you)…It goes on ‘Do you have your shoes? Where are your shoes? Are you eating at school or do you need a lunch? (This usually is figured out the night before, but there are always THOSE days) – do you have your lunch? So, trying to get either one of them to brush their teeth in between can be difficult.
I, though, promise to do my best to get them (each of them) to get their teeth brushed. Even if it is before breakfast. It can be done and it should be done. So, I thank the ADA for their reminder and hopefully we can make are kids a little healthier!
Web-sites for info: http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month/