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To think that if a child is not old enough to brush their hair properly then they are not old enough to brush their own teeth

(19 Posts)
ReallyTired Mon 29-Jun-15 11:52:11

Dd is six years old and wants to brush her teeth by herself. However I think her brushing technique is not good enough. I insist that she tickles every tooth with the toothbrush on both sides and the top of the tooth. Her idea of tooth brushing is to wave the tooth brush around in her mouth and hope for the best. In her opinon 10 seconds of tooth brushing is more than enough. I brush her teeth after she has "brushed" them. I also brush her hair as she struggles to plait her hair and get all the knots out after she has had go at hair brushing.

Do you think I am unreasonable to tell her that when she shows me that she can brush her hair properly I will let her take more responsiblity for her dental hygiene. The consequences of poor hair brushing are nowhere near as bad as poor tooth brushing.

Do most mums still brush their six year old's teeth? I am scared of dd getting tooth decay.

I would agree with you - if she isn't doing a good job of it now, she can't be left in sole control of her dental hygiene.

Could you get some of those revealer tablets, so she can brush her teeth, then use one, and see how much she has left behind? And tell her that, when she can brush well enough that the revealer tablet shows little or nothing left, after she's brushed, then she can do it on her own?

And if she is really resistant/insistant, maybe show her some pictures of really bad teeth, and tell her that's what happens if you don't brush properly (though this is a last resort, as she is only little).

DoraGora Mon 29-Jun-15 11:57:32

I do a combination of things. Encourage more brushing. I explain when I'm happy with what has been brushed and I take over the brushing, when it's clear that my brushing requirements are never going to get met. But, the main thing is, that they have a go. Practise makes perfect.

stateoftheart Mon 29-Jun-15 11:58:14

My six year old mostly brushes her teeth by herself. I have a 3 minute timer and I supervise to make sure she is reaching all areas.

Sometimes, mainly if she is in the bath then I will give them a go for her.

My 11 and 12 yr old DS' are rubbish at teeth brushing. I have to watch them like a hawk. Every so often I shine a light on their teeth and can see the plague build up and I will them brush it for them.

What I'm trying to say.... Is that it probably depends of their own commitment to teeth brushing and whether they try and do a good job. Nothing wrong with doing it for them if you have the time

haveabreakhaveakitkat Mon 29-Jun-15 11:58:38

6 is quite young to be doing teeth completely by themselves. Ds is 8 and does her own teeth but I have a quick scrub of them before she rinses. She can brush her own hair but hers is very tangly so I need to spray it and help her with the underneath.

Plaque disclosing tablets

Might an electric toothbrush help? I got them for mine when ds3 was that age - it might make it more exciting, and encourage her to do it for longer, and even if it didn't, the little brushing she is doing could be more effective.

Osmiornica Mon 29-Jun-15 12:01:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

reni1 Mon 29-Jun-15 12:19:34

I second the disclosing tablets. Hair brushing and teeth brushing are quite different kills though, so the hair brushing technique is irrelevant. Tell her what happens to badly brushed teeth- after all, the worst that can happen to hair is it gets so bad she needs it cut, teeth are much much worse.

musicalendorphins2 Mon 29-Jun-15 12:30:35

Yanbu. Pretty good idea, she learns two skills that way.
The chewable tablets, electric toothbrush and maybe a musical snow globe or wind up time something or other she can "brush along" with. My kids seemed to enjoy the challenge of the tablets. Also, little dental floss pre-threaded on plastic character shaped pics.

DJThreeDog Mon 29-Jun-15 12:53:32

I think the hair thing is irrelevant too. My three year old can brush his own hair as it's an inch long but he can't do his teeth!

The toothpaste tube recommends supervision till at least 7. DSS still needs it now as he prefers not to brush but that's not because he isn't able!

BTW by dentist said NOT to rinse, to leave the toothpaste residue on the teeth as it's better for them.

DJThreeDog Mon 29-Jun-15 12:58:27

Actually if you have a smartphone or tablet we used to use an app (can't remember why we stopped now) which would brush with them, showing where to brush and when. It was very good.

rubadubba Mon 29-Jun-15 13:28:12

My dentist said he would like me to brush dds until she's at least 7, she's 6 .6 atm and still doesn't have the dexterity to do them herself so I will probably be helping her for a while yet.

Pumpeedo Mon 29-Jun-15 13:30:11

Let her do it herself but mummy or daddy needs to just check she's done the important corners.

VirginiaTonic Mon 29-Jun-15 13:35:03

My dentist said children need to have their teeth brushed for them until they at least 8 as before that age their fine motor skills are not developed enough to do it competently. Some will need help for longer.

greenhill Mon 29-Jun-15 13:41:51

YY virginia I told the dentist that I let the DC do some of the tooth brushing but I normally finish it off, to make sure I get to all the teeth, and she said she wished more parents had this attitude. She'd make them do it until they were adults!

She was joking, but did say not all children can reach the difficult spaces at the back of their mouth and often just brush their front teeth vigorously making the gums bleed, but ignore their molars.

Mine (6 and 4) do their own, with some supervision, I also use Firefly brushes and they know to keep going until the flashing stops. They had their dentist check on Friday and he was very happy with their teeth and gums; I pointed out that the youngest chews the brush a lot and he said that was fine, as the bristles get everywhere that way although she does get through a brush in a couple of weeks
They don't have much of a sweet tooth so I imagine that helps. I am very aware that I had fillings at their age so scrupulously follow the dentist's advice.

meglet Mon 29-Jun-15 13:53:22


Let her have a go at doing it herself but if I were you I'd be doing the majority of it myself most of the time.

virginia & greenhill same here, I still do 8yo ds's teeth a lot of the time. He's getting better and allowed to get on with it on busy work & school mornings, I make sure I do them in the evening.

ReallyTired Mon 29-Jun-15 14:10:37

The reason I mentioned dd being able to her hair is that its an indication of a fine motor skills. I feel a lot of people underestimate the standard of fine motor skills required to clean teeth properly. dd's fine motor skills are very good for her age, but many of her school friends are allowed to clean their own teeth.

greenhill have threatened to clean my thirteen year old's teeth. He laughs at me and locks himself in the bathroom for hours.

ds had fillings in his baby teeth and even had one baby tooth pulled. Thankfully his adult teeth are perfect and now he is in the pleasent position of having no fillings. The horror of watching a seven year old having a tooth pulled is why I am so anal about tooth brushing.

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