Our 2-week tooth cleaning challenge plus top teeth-cleaning tips for children

One of the most baffling things about my children is their reluctance to clean their teeth.  Its a constant battle and they will go to any lengths to "prove" they have cleaned them.

I have even caught one of them rubbing toothpaste onto their teeth with a finger - inches from their actual toothbrush - so their breath smells minty. Surely it would have been just as quick and easy to ACTUALLY clean their teeth?

I frequently actually clean them myself for them - I know, it's a bit helicopter mum, but I worry they don't do a good enough job themselves. After a thorough brushing I ask them:"Doesn't that feel nicer?" 

I hate having furry teeth and that nasty taste you can get if you, for example (not at all taken from my own life of course) fall into bed too drunk to clean teeth or take makeup off.

Mostly however  I leave the chore up to them apart from my 6 year old who stands on a step in the kitchen and makes roaring dinosaur noises so I can reach every surface of his tiny teeth. 

The mornings with a school run are particularly tricky with time at a premium so it’s no surprise to me that a survey of 2,000 adults by Careway Pharmacies revealed that one in five parents don’t have the time to oversee their children cleaning their teeth for the recommended two minutes, twice a day.

Parents also admitted that when it comes to their own teeth, more than two thirds brush for less than two minutes and only 15% are aware of the long term health issues associated with poor dental health, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Scary stuff!

Our family was challenged to take a two-week tooth cleaning challenge using disclosing tablets ( which reveal harmful plaque) at the start and finish to see if our brushing technique had improved. The children were very excited by this and insisted we start on a school morning.

child with plaque revealed by disclosing tablets

We had not realised the disclosing tablets would stain quite so spectacularly so they went off to school with right red gums and tongues after brushing the excess off their teeth! My husband
sported the look of a flesh-chomping zombie for a while too!

man with beard after using disclosing tablets

The tablets made us realised that our brushing technique could use some work so we were glad of some great teeth-cleaning tips from Careway Pharmacies -simple stuff but very important.
1.    Brush teeth twice a day without fail with a fluoride-based toothpaste
2.    Always give your child a drink of water after eating sugary foods
3.    Consider using a straw to drink through as this can help the drink to go to the back of the mouth without touching your teeth
4.    If your child has a sweet tooth, choose sugar-free treats
5.    Limiting food intake to three meals per day & no more than two snacks is better for yours and your children’s teeth
6.    Always floss or use interdental sticks to reach in-between teeth and rid them of plaque build up
7.    Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children under the age of 7
8.    Wait at least one hour after your last meal before brushing to ensure the enamel on your children’s teeth remains strong and healthy
9.    Change the toothbrush every 3 months to ensure your child has a toothbrush with bristles that will do the job

tooth cleaning kit and sweets

The two week challenge was a great opportunity to make us focus on how we could improve dental cleanliness and health, and we are all definitely trying harder to brush for the right length of time (a timer helps!) and being more thorough.

If you fancy taking on the challenge you can buy disclosing tablets and of course toothbrushes and paste in many pharmacies - you can use the very useful Careway Pharmacy website to find a local pharmacy and to read articles on family health ranging from weight loss to womens health.

Disclaimer: I was sent a tooth care kit for my family free for the purposes of this post. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.