As a hands-on and unashamed helicopter mom, I micromanage 30 fingernails, 30 toenails and 3 sets of 20 baby teeth.
This is a job I am proud of. I never outsource the cleaning and maintenance of these body parts of my children (well, almost never) and I wouldn’t even let the Kao kids independently handle them, especially when it came to teeth.
Here’s the reason why.
Children begin teething around six months of age. Most people know these teeth as baby teeth. By the time they are 3, children have 20 baby teeth – 10 on the top and 10 on the bottom. These teeth are destined to fall out, and would some day mark the beginning of yet another milestone of growing up. And my job, as I have taken it upon myself as my children’s mother – like a mission of some sort – is to make sure that this destiny arrives to greet them as late as possible. In other words, no tooth fairy visits before 6 years old at least.
Here’s how I do it.
1. Impose a candy quota
I used to terrorise my children with horror stories of how every candy they put in their mouth can hide well around their teeth, and then plaque comes and have a heyday. Now that they are older, the stories don’t seem to work so well anymore. Or rather, the temptation of a lolly outweighs the fear of plaque attack. But because they have been rather well-trained to always ask Mom for permission, I still get some control over how much sweet stuff they ingest. My general rule-of-thumb: vitamin gummies in the morning after breakfast, something sweet if the day is going to get them outdoors and active, and none at all if we’re cooped up at home. Sugar high, no thanks.
2. Load up on the calcium
When I was younger and when I felt that my adult teeth felt a little off (like when something was strangely shaky or unsettled), I would go eat lots of cheese. Surprisingly, that worked for me. When I became a mom, I made sure cheeses, yogurt and milk feature a lot in the kids’ diet. They love their cheeses, they love their dairies. Thank God.
3. Use age-appropriate toothpaste
Not every toothpaste is created equal; some more equal than others. I used to be quite alarmed at how disparate the prices of toothpaste can get. One tube could cost $2.50 while another in a similar size but different brand could cost $15. And then I found out that it’s all in the ingredients.
After being a micromanager of teeth for the past few years and reading up on the relevant literature and research that’s got to do with children’s teeth, this is what I follow:
0-2 NO flouride, thank you very much. The kids, when they were infants, had their teeth cleaned with tooth wipes. When they started standing at the sink at age one-half, the toothpaste had to be safe to swallow.
2-4 Flouride ok, but kid must be able to spit. Spitting is a skill to master and they had better master it first. Toothpaste must also be very gentle to teeth.
5 onwards Gentle toothpaste with flouride but if there’s more foaming action, it would be better as that helps to keep their breath fresh.
4. Change their toothbrushes regularly
This is something I make sure happens every 3-4 months. I check for frayed bristles and make sure that the toothbrush shape, size and bristles are age-appropriate. Cartoon characters are optional, but I try to get them something that gets them excited about brushing. Which means the toothbrush had to move with what was hot favourite of the day: Spiderman, Barbie, Disney Cars…
5. Let them brush all they want, and then I do it again (and sometimes my helper)
While I do teach my children how to brush their teeth and allow them to do it on their own, there’s never such a thing in the house as you brush, you go. It’s always, you brush, you stay there and wait for Mama or Aunty to come brush for you AGAIN. Because have you seen my kids brush their teeth? It’s like done in two seconds most of the time.
Recently, the Kao kids got really excited about brushing and started doing it close to four times a day, after every meal.
The morning and night brush is supervised still (as I have always insisted), but something is motivating them to brush their teeth without any adult nagging or resistance.
The “toothpaste with 3 stripes” has finally launched a brand new Aquafresh Kids range, catering to the oral care needs of children of different age groups Thanks to the good folks at Aquafresh, the Kao kids received a new set of toothbrush and age-appropriate toothpaste, and quickly got to work testing them out.
I’m sure you can see their enthusiasm just by looking at those toothy grins.
Using: Aquafresh First Teeth baby toothpaste (3 – 24 mths) + Milk Teeth toothbrush (0-2 years)
We’ve always been using this when the kids were babies, and I see now it has a new packaging. I hear this toothpaste has been out of stock globally a while back and is now finally back on shelves. It’s still apple-banana flavour and my cheeky son tells me it’s really nice jelly to swallow.
First Teeth Baby Toothpaste old packaging (Credit: Aquafresh)
Aquafresh First Teeth baby toothpaste and Milk Teeth toothbrush are specially designed by dental experts to gently care for precious first teeth – just for 0 years to 2 years children. The First Teeth baby toothpaste is a toothpaste designed by dental experts to gently care for precious baby teeth and so help permanent teeth come through healthy and strong, and provides gentle cleaning with no abrasives, artificial colours or flavours. It is also fluoride-free so it is safe to swallow.
Nat liked it for old times’ sake – I’m sure he remembers this toothpaste which he’s been using, but he is now three and after a few days of using First Teeth, he requested for something minty, like big boys should.
And can I say I absolutely love the shape of the Milk Teeth toothbrush? I know he’s 3 already and I need to graduate him soon but it is oh-so-easy to maneuver in the insides of his mouth with this.
Using: Aquafresh Little Teeth products (3 – 5 years)
This girl is complaining her tooth is a little shaky – which is totally making me panic (she’s not 5 yet!) – and so I am making her take her toothbrushing very seriously. I have ordered that she be off the bottle (she loves her Milo in her bottle!) and let’s hope Aquafresh can help repair some damage. Apparently, by this age, the enamel which is now thinner makes her teeth more vulnerable to decay. And if they aren’t cared for, permanent teeth may not come through healthy and strong.
Aquafresh Little Teeth products are specially designed by dental experts to encourage healthy brushing habits and protect precious first teeth – just for kids 3 years to 5 years. Aquafresh Little Teeth toothpaste is a gentle cleaning fluoride toothpaste with sugar acid protection to care for those precious first teeth and helps permanent teeth come through steadily.
She says, I like my toothbrush, it’s nice to hold and turn. My toothpaste is a little bit spicy but I can handle.
I say, it would be nice to have some fruity flavours. Not many kids this age can take mint exploding in their mouths!
Using: Aquafresh My Big Teeth products (6+ years)
He’s just turned 6 and is entering into big boy zone now with primary one looming ahead and two shaky teeth, one on top and another at the bottom. Our dentist commented during our recent visit that he has really well maintained teeth, which made me beam like a proud mother while he sat on the dentist chair. I was so going to whisper that that’s the benefit he reaps from his mother micromanaging every friggin’ details of his teeth and oral hygiene since the day he had teeth, but decided to let him take the glory. After all, he always does one good first round of brushing before the adult comes to do the second.
Aquafresh My Big Teeth products are specially designed by dental experts to protect mixed adult and baby teeth. Mixed adult and first teeth also create awkward gaps which are hard to clean, creating “plaque traps.” The child’s new adult teeth may look big and strong but the enamel on new teeth is more vulnerable to decay for several years. Aquafresh’s My Big Teeth is a toothpaste with foaming action (and sugar acid protection!) to help it get around the mouth whilst actively targeting softer enamel to keep it strong.
And it is this “yummy, minty, clean-feeling” in the words of my eldest that makes him want to use keep using his toothpaste. This boy has been finding many excuses to brush food bits away since he got acquainted with Aquafresh’s My Big Teeth toothpaste. Never seen a more enthusiastic boy when it comes to oral hygiene.
With these children’s enthusiasm in brushing and keeping teeth clean, a host of value-for-money, specially designed oral products, and a micromanager-mom, these 3 sets of teeth should remain cavity-free for a long, long time.
And if you’d like to have a reason to smile too, hashtag #AquafreshKidsSG with a video or photo of your child brushing his/her teeth with any Aquafresh Kids products on your personal Facebook or Instagram page. 10 selected winners with the most number of LIKES (across Facebook or Instagram) will win a one year supply of Aquafresh Kids products. Contest runs from 1 March to 30 April 2015 (Terms & Conditions apply).
If you have trouble getting your kids excited about toothbrushing, get your kids to check out this app by Aquafresh called Brush Time. The Aquafresh Nurdle shows kids how to brush their teeth using catchy tunes and fun-loving animations, plus rewards.
All Aquafresh products are available at leading supermarkets and pharmacy outlets. The App can be downloaded free from iTunes.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post which means that the products we received are sponsored, and my little reviewers will actually be making some money bringing you this. As our practice, we have reviewed the products in a manner as honestly as possible. All opinions here are our own.
P/S: I know the kids may have gone a little overboard with the excessive 4 times a day brushing, but they take their reviewing job very seriously.