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When did you let your kids brush by themselves?

(15 Posts)
NeverendingStoryteller Thu 01-Sep-11 23:05:26

Sorry about this question, but I'm a relatively new mum due to having adopted - my two boys are 5 and 7. We're an electric toothbrush family, and I've been brushing both kids' teeth since the arrived with us over a year ago. The dentist whom we saw today was really pleased with the state of their teeth, but I think it's about time the oldest, in particular, started being a bit more independent with this. How did you go about this - supervision seems to be the most sensible approach, but is there any other advice you have?

CointreauVersial Thu 01-Sep-11 23:10:11

From 5-ish onwards, I think. Always supervised at the beginning, with regular "refresher training"!

The best buy was a two-minute egg-timer from eBay, which is used religiously by all three DCs to time their brushing. We also do disclosing tablets every now and then so they can see which bits they're missing.

festi Thu 01-Sep-11 23:22:34

My dd has always had toothbrush in own hand from v early age, but thats not helpfull for you. DD is 5 and I do hers for her, then she has brush when Im doing mine at the same time and get her to mimic what Im doing, so not too harsh and nice soft big movements, getting into back etc. then she is finished and I finish mine off. this is either morning or night and and say if morning she does own at night...if that makes sence.

I also occassionaly if pushed for time etc just send her up to do her own, but I do chech her teeth the next brush and if any visable plaque I do give them a good going over. But im generally confident she will do a relativly good job.

I would just supervise and take it from there, when you are confident they can get them done is an appropriate age. By d neice is 8 and her mum does on occassions need to give them a good going over for her from time to time if she thinks she hasnt been doing them well enough.

NeverendingStoryteller Thu 01-Sep-11 23:23:35

Oh, I like the tablet idea - very cool! My two will think we're doing science experiments and will jump at this!

The toothbrush we use has a built-in timer, so will make them brush until it gives the signal.

Thanks for great advice!

Meglet Thu 01-Sep-11 23:25:57

I'm thinking from about 5yrs too. DS is almost 5 and when he starts school next weel I'd prefer to not have to do his teeth every morning (his little sister is a PITA when it comes to teeth brushing). I'll just make sure I'm ruthless with his bedtime brushing and help him to do them then.

hellymelly Thu 01-Sep-11 23:26:01

My eldest dd is six and a half and my younger four.We still do their teeth for them,and I will until 8 or nine,as I read somewhere that they need help until then.I brushed my own teeth from very small and had lots of fillings,which may be a coincidence ,but I want to keep an eye on their teeth as they do eat sweets.

Meglet Thu 01-Sep-11 23:27:03

...we have disclosing tablets too. I must let them use them this weekend. The dye turns their lips and tongues blue so we can't really do it on a weekday.

SummerRain Thu 01-Sep-11 23:28:56

dd was 5 when I started insisting she do them herself first, she'd been doing them after I had given them a good going over up til then but I wanted her to learn to do it properly, she's 6.5 now and I check them but she does them herself 95%.

ds1 is 5 but he's suspected dyspraxic, can't wipe his own bum or put on shoes so no hope of brushing his own teeth! I do make him try but always do them for him.

ds2 is 2.5 and has oral issues which make him extremely unreceptive to anyone else fiddling with his mouth, up til recently I could never get more than a quick swipe in but he's very dexterous and loves doing them himself, he'll happily spend 20 minutes brushing his teeth himself so I swipe when I can and hope that he must be doing some good in that time!

winnybella Thu 01-Sep-11 23:30:57


DD is 2.7 and brushes on her own (with me supervising)

There's no way DS (9) would let me brush his teeth.

Surely at 5 and 7 they are old enough to do it themselves?

festi Thu 01-Sep-11 23:33:35

I would say no, not adequatly winny

NeverendingStoryteller Thu 01-Sep-11 23:38:06

Thanks for your really helpful replies - I was thinking that they're old enough now - when they first arrived from care, brushing their teeth was one of those things that we did to help bond, and to help youngest with his eye contact - a bit of therapeutic parenting stuff. The dentist has said that the night time brush is the most important one, so I might let them do the morning ones (supervised) and keep doing the evening ones myself, slowly increasing the number of times a week they brush for themselves in the evening. Although with my two, any perceived removal of attention can bring difficulties, so will monitor how it all goes. Thanks again for your help.

winnybella Thu 01-Sep-11 23:41:03

confused DD brushes her teeth (top, bottom, sides, inside) for a good couple of minutes.

DS has never had any fillings.

I think they're doing ok then?

festi Thu 01-Sep-11 23:43:53

thats just my opinion grin you did ask.

olivo Fri 02-Sep-11 18:09:54

my 2 are 2 and 5; they both brush their own ( each others' hmm) in the mornings and I do them at night. Hard to get them to learn if you always do it for them but so important to make sure it gets done properly!! A circle of viciousness!!

Tiggles Sat 03-Sep-11 15:45:37

I think that 'official' advice is that someone brushes their teeth until they are 7. Before that age I have brushed their teeth first and then let them practice afterwards.

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