That's Adam, brushing his teeth in the kitchen sink. My first born, 3.5 years old and you know what? keeping a clean healthy set of teeth is one of his life major concerns. Yes, of all the things that revolve around him, menjaga gigi is just so important that he doesn't mind for not eating chocolate. And candy and jajan whatsoever.
Because the first time I gave him chocolate, he was freaked out to see his teeth turning very brown and thought the situation going to be as such permanently. Miahahaha! point taken, so I explained "Kalau Adam suka makan banyak chocolate, candy and tak gosok gigi, nanti jadi hitam balik." I guess lesson learnt lah kot lepas tu haha.
As he grows, he understands that tooth brushing is part of his daily routine that he needs to do at least twice a day. Aiman follows suit. Apa Abang buat, Adik buat also. Except that we have to do it for him first before allowing him to repeat again on his own.
Anyway, below are some useful tips that we have applied, to make tooth brushing routine work for them.
Start early. Well, this point, the biggest credit should go to my mom and my cousin Suraya and then only me, haha. The ones yang buat rutin cuci gums and tongue despite being bitten numerous times by the boys haha. One tough job okels, to gently wipe and rub the gums with soft cloth soaked in warm water. Usually buat after each feeding.
My boys have 2-3 tooth brushes for them to choose each time to brush their teeth. And yes, buy the fancy ones for them. Now ada yang with blinking light lah, Thomas Train tooth brush and etc. Engage your kids also when buying the supplies; something very simple but important to keep the spirit up. And owh, use those colorful Ikea plastic cups for rinsing.
Important! Until your child is big enough to rinse and spit, don't use toothpaste. Tho some brands indicate 'Safe to Swallow', I decided not to take the risk. Now both boys are above two, so yes toothpaste is in use but only a small pea size each time. Too much takut overwhelm their mouth with toothpaste foam.
Fun stuff is contagious! Singing, laughing, making sounds, story telling and all sort of possible fun things that you may think, sila buat. For us, this Bangun Pagi Gosok Gigi song is a ritual for every tooth brushing session. But the next verse varies, depends on what Adam and Aiman request; something like "Bangun pagi, gosok gigi, cuci kereta, main lori, pakai baju, minum susu, pergi Rumah Jaja hari-hari" Hahaha.
Lead by example by allowing them to watch us brush teeth. Come on, this is an everyday must-do-thing kot? ;) If not morning then night time, shouldn't be a problem then. Sometimes, I even get into the action by joining them brushing their teeth, even though I just did mine before. The more the merrier, kids love that.
Most importantly, please, lower your expectations. They just don't do it right first time. Not even the 10th time pun but surely the more practice they get, the faster they will improve. And don't forget to praise and praise and praise for their awesome brushing job. Do not under estimate the positive power of one praise can be. :) Trust me.