All parents know this: Children have different concepts of time than adults. This is one main reason that using music or some other time-keeper is so effective when getting them to brush their teeth for the two minutes a day recommended by the American Dental Association.
As with any other parts of their routine, the more fun you can make brushing teeth the more likely your children will look forward to brushing and the more likely they will develop the habits that maintain good oral health for a lifetime. There are many so-called “Teeth Brushing Songs” created specifically for this time, but they can be a little too pedantic for our taste. We prefer real, fun music. And so, we’d like to offer you ten songs, about two minutes long, that your child might like to listen to while brushing his/her teeth.
1. “Slow Down“ by the Snail People (a Portland fun-folk group!) We absolutely LOVE the Snail People. They are one of those groups who adults and kids can listen to with equal relish. This is one of their best, a jaunty ditty on slowing things down when you really need to. It’s also good for a little relaxation if your kids are getting a little rammy.
2. “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants Particles! Or is it sugar bugs? Or are you brushing off cavity-causing bacteria? Whatever it is you are doing, this classic TMBG song, (with link to random dude singing a great version of it), has a great brushing rhythm for little brushers.
3. Beaker singing “Ode to Joy” from the Muppets Okay, so you’re one of those Mozart for Babies Moms. Well, how about Beethoven for little brushers? If you like Beaker, this is a great one for brushing. If you don’t like him, steer clear!
4. “Ah Bos Cee Da” by Johnny Cash Brushing and learning the ABC, but with cool music. This one, off of the slightly somber Johnny Cash children’s album, is a fun take on the alphabet laid out by the master. FYI, the link is to a family video since there is no version on Youtube. Check out ITunes or other music service for the mp3.
6. “La la la la Lemon” by the Barenaked Ladies If they are not counters, how about little word poets? This one, a meditation on the letter “L,” culminates in a very satisfying way and has a good brushing rhythm.
7. “They’ve got to be clean,” by Guster Are they talking about hands and feet or also teeth? “We start our day by brushing our teeth!” And even a nod to flossing — what a rare treat from a great band.
8. “Mahna mahna” by Cake The Muppet favorite as interpreted by Cake. This one’s instrumental, and a little bit longer, but you might want to throw in a few dance moves while you’re brushing.
9. “We Are Going to be Friends,” by Jack Johnson (cover of the original by the White Stripes) A cover of the White Stripes classic by Jack Johnson, whom all kids should be introduced to at some point. A paean to childhood, a tear-jerker in a simple ditty. But that’s you tearing up in the bathroom — your kid just likes the song.
10. “Bend Down the Branches” by Tom Waits Ok, so sometimes our toddler hears Tom Waits and says: “That man’s scary!” Not this one. Wonderful song, great gravelly voice, and a wonderful wind-down to boot. This is your much-needed end-of-day song for teeth brushing. Enjoy! And if you’ve got any other songs out there that you use with your kids, let us know!