Show me a parent who has no problem getting their kids to brush for a full two minutes, and I’ll show you a parent that is in denial.
When my daughter Sarah first learned to brush her teeth, it was common for me to stand with her to help make sure that she did the full minute on each row. As she got a bit older, she (understandably) didn’t want me hovering over her, because she could ‘do it [herself], mommmm!’
The thing is that sometimes ‘doing it herself’ meant a cursory brush over each tooth (maybe), a quick swish of water, and done. Hmmm … not quite what the dentist had recommended.
Now Sarah is grown with a step-daughter and new baby of her own, and I have two young step-daughters … and it’s funny to watch the same thing happening in our new blended families. When Kev and I started dating, his girls were young enough that he’d stand in the bathroom while they brushed, just to makes sure that they weren’t skimping on their strokes. Now they are both old enough to feel that adult supervision when they do their evening rituals is unnecessary, and yet we know there is no way teeth are getting a good brushing when the bathroom is vacated moments after brushing was supposed to begin. Hmmmm.
So how do you compromise? One way is with a toothbrush that includes a built-in timer.
I was recently sent a sample of FireFly’s Hello Kitty Firefly Light-Up Toothbrush.
Invented by a dad and his young daughter, FireFly flashing toothbrush encourages kids to brush more thoroughly than regular toothbrushes. FireFly light up timer kids toothbrush lights up and flashes for 60 seconds, the dentist recommended time for kids to thoroughly brush each row of teeth. The light can be activated easily by a press of a button or tap on the bottom of the brush, allowing children to learn and take charge of their brushing at a young age.
My sample came in a Hello Kitty pouch that immediately caught Kev’s 9-year-old’s eye.
I’m fairly certain that this special packaging isn’t part of a regular purchase; sorry!
“My little sister has one of those.” she said, when I told her how this toothbrush would light up while she brushed.
“Great! But does she have a Hello Kitty one?” I asked.
“Nope; I want this one!” … and just like that, Hello Kitty was in.
The toothbrush measures about 6.25″ long, and it has a fat middle (about 0.75″ across) which will help smaller hands hold on. The bristles on the 1″ long head are soft, and there is an included toothbrush cover to protect the head when not in use.
The beauty of this brush is that when you press the button on its shaft, the whole affair will light up and flash for 60 seconds. This is good for the first row of teeth, and when the lights go out the button gets pressed again for the second.
Of course the flashing lights aren’t going to make your child brush if he or she doesn’t want to put in the full two minutes, but it will help when the reason the full time hasn’t been put in is because your child forgot to count or just lost track of time. For that matter, I know plenty of adults who don’t think to time their brushing, but that’s because most of us use electric toothbrushes that do the timing for us.
The Hello Kitty Firefly Light-Up Toothbrush is a clever way to give your child the cute toothbrush they want, while also giving them a tool that will help them put in the proper amount of time when brushing. Brushes should be replaced after about three months, which is just about the time when the lights are supposed to quit working.
The Hello Kitty Firefly Light-Up Toothbrush for kids is available at Walgreens and directly from Firefly Toothbrush. If Hello Kitty is not your child’s favorite, there are other character brushes available.
MSRP: $2.99 – $3.49
What I Like: Cute design that children will enjoy; soft bristles for sensitive teeth; included brush cover; lights blink out the time to be spent brushing, so that a minute is spent on each row of teeth
What Needs Improvement: It’s still no guarantee that your kids will brush as long as they should, but this way no one can use the excuse that they weren’t sure how long they needed to brush!