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What's Up Magazine

Healthy Little Smiles

Oct 17, 2011 10:44PM ● By Cate Reynolds

“Oh, I’m brushing my teeth in back. Gotta get rid of all the plaque…Oh, I’m brushing my teeth all around 'cause I like to hear the squishing sound.” Barney’s song “Brushing My Teeth” is geared toward a young audience for a reason. Even a big purple dinosaur knows teaching good dental hygiene should begin at a young age. Here are a few good ideas to help get the point across:

The eggsperiment: Using an egg, toothpaste, and vinegar, kids can learn why it’s so important to brush. Ultimately, kids will see how the toothpaste protects the eggshell from the vinegar just like it protects your teeth from decay. Cool stuff! You can find the eggsperiment at

Dental charts: Families are often really busy. So, it’s helpful for the kids to have a reminder to brush their teeth. Dental charts are a great way to go! Just have your kids check off a box each time they brush their teeth. Dental charts come in fun designs, and several free ones are available online.

Toothbrushes and Toothpastes: Using kid-themed toothbrushes (electric, battery, or manual) and toothpastes is a great way to encourage kids to brush their teeth. Who wouldn’t want to use a Barbie, Spiderman, or Cars toothbrush? Toothpaste can have cool themes as well. There are lots of great options from Crest, OralB, Firefly, and Spinbrush.

Music: The recommended length of time for brushing teeth is two minutes. To a youngster, those two minutes can seem like a very long time. One good way to ensure kids have brushed for two minutes and to make it fun is listening to a song while brushing.

Start Young: No matter what a parent chooses to do to teach their kids good dental hygiene, the most important thing is to start early. Parents can start brushing their child’s teeth as soon as the first baby tooth breaks through. If good habits begin at a young age, then they are more likely to last into the teenage years and adulthood.