A tip for brushing children’s teeth: the toothbrush ABCs

A tip for brushing children's teeth
This is a tip for brushing children’s teeth which I learned from Courtney when we were still living in London. Easton and Sara were both tiny little toddlers, playing so sweetly together (if they weren’t pulling each other’s hair out). We would meet up for dinner ever so often, feed our babies their purees, give them their baths together and put them down in each other’s houses so we could continue the party. When Courtney was brushing Easton’s teeth on those evenings, I noticed she would always sing the ABC song. She told me this was a habit she copied from her mum, who would sing this song when brushing her teeth and those of her siblings.

I took over her habit of singing the ABCs when brushing, and Tamar did too. And still, we sing when we brush: the Dutch ABCs for the top teeth and the English ABCs for the bottom ones. Sara and Pim, who are now brushing their own teeth, still hum their ABCs when they are brushing! It is a sweet little tradition, which makes brushing always a bit more fun, and has the advantage that my kids have known their ABCs since a young age, and also, that brushing always takes the minimum time of twice the ABC song.

Do you have a tip for brushing children’s teeth, or any teeth brushing traditions in your family?

xxx Esther


Comments (14)

January 31, 2017

thanks for this! Ceki especially sees the toothbrushing as a real struggle the its his turn..so i’ll tell him to sing in turkish and english!

January 31, 2017

There is a nice app “Brush DJ” where you can select a song to play for two minutes. And you see the clock running in different colours. My kids are doing their dancing moves while brushing their teeth!

Courtney in Australia
January 31, 2017

Haha! I can’t NOT sing the ABCs when brushing their teeth! And I often hear the big kids humming the ABC song as they brush. 🙂 xx

January 31, 2017

Sweet tradition. I also sing to my kids while brushing their teeth. But I’ve ended up inventing my own song.

January 31, 2017

When they where little I used to sing “you are my sunshine”once in French and once in English (after I had to learn it 😊) and to this day they’ll tell me “mom you remember singing to us to brush our teeth?” Making memories while cleaning teeth 😁

January 31, 2017

I have to play comedy dentists twice a day.. they even stand outside the door and wait to be called in “next please!!”. Then pretend to take a picture at the end for the “dental records”

January 31, 2017

For my youngest who sometimes is unwilling to brush I make jokes or say ‘aaaahhhh’ she will then copy me and I quickly brush her teeth. Most of the times she starts to laugh then.

Amy Phariss
January 31, 2017

I do this! Well, I do it in French. It’s the one thing that stuck with me from French classes. My kids love it in French. It’s like it grips their attention. I hear my son sometimes singing it to himself. It’s close enough to English that he can hear it, but it’s also different enough that he is enthralled. I hope he remembers that as he grows up. 🙂 Amy

January 31, 2017

This is so sweet! And now I want to learn “You Are My Sunshine” in French! 🙂 We have a five year gap between our two kids, so I am having to “re-learn” how to teach a young toddler to brush. Oops.

Shannon in NYC
January 31, 2017

We sing a made-up song at our house while brushing D’s teeth. It’s sung to the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush and each verse highlights something we’re going to do that day (when brushing in the morning) or did that day (when brushing before bed). So we end up with verses like, “This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth, this is the way we brush our teeth before we go to art class,” or “This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth, this is the way we brush our teeth after we play at the playground.” It makes every tooth brushing session a new experience because she’s curious to see what the song includes and loves hearing about her day.

February 1, 2017

We play a silly game whilst brushing teeth. Whilst I am brushing I say that I am finding outrageous things between my daughter’s teeth. For example, I might say “Oh my goodness, there’s a sock wedged between your teeth!”. My daughter loves it.

Esther in Amsterdam
February 1, 2017

Haha! I love that trick. 🙂

February 6, 2017

Lovely idea I think I will adopt this one as my kids struggle with how long to brush and it makes the process a bit more fun

February 6, 2017

I also sing a song for my young son, but when my daughter was a little older, I told her I would find cavity monsters between her teeth, yes right there, behind the last molar, there it is, it doesn’t want to come out, I can see it now, it’s pink with red spots and…can you believe it? It even has a bow on its head… The monsters had a lot of adventures and before I got them out and it was never a problem to brush.

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