Breaking bad brushing habits

Teeth brushing time ...
Teeth brushing time ... 


There are certain things my four-year-old loves, like chocolate, staying up late and recreating WWE wrestling bouts with his little sister. His absolute favourite though is my smartphone. On the rare occasions (let’s not quibble about our respective definitions of ‘rare’) he’s allowed to play with it, he cradles the device like a newborn as he smashes and crashes his way around the globe in a 12ft high monster truck.

At the other end of the spectrum are things my four-year-old hates. Having his hair washed and eating broccoli annoy him, but nothing would grind his gears like teeth cleaning. Night-time may have deposited 12 hour’s worth of furry bacteria in his mouth, but cleaning his teeth was still  “boooooorrrrrring”. Most mornings were spent reminding him that if his milk teeth fell out prematurely he definitely wouldn’t be getting an early visit from the Tooth Fairy … although DOCS might be interested in popping round.

<i>Macleans Nurdle Time</i> ... An app to get kids cleaning regularly.
Macleans Nurdle Time ... An app to get kids cleaning regularly. 

Someone at Macleans clearly knew a child like mine as they developed a smartphone app that has made the impossible happen; it’s turned my four-year-old into a child who cleans his teeth with all the zeal of a reformed smoker.

I have the Nurdle Durdles to thank, three characters that are my greatest allies on the teeth-cleaning front. Milky, Lilly and Billy live in the Nurdle Durdles app and show kids how to brush their teeth and for how long (there’s a nifty two-minute timer that ensures kids do the job properly).

The clincher for my son is that every time he cleans his teeth he’s rewarded with a Nurdle Star. The stars allow him to pop into a virtual shop and customise his own Nurdle Durdle character with a range of cool clothes and accessories. The more he cleans his teeth, the more stars he gets. Instead of being a chore, teeth cleaning is now pretty much the highlight of our morning and bedtime routine.

It also teaches kids how to brush correctly.
It also teaches kids how to brush correctly. 

Now that the Nurdle Durdles have helped us establish teeth cleaning as a habit, Macleans’ toothpaste and brushes are really helping keep up the momentum. The flip-top lid on the Little Teeth toothpaste makes my son feel very grown-up; he can take charge of opening the tube and squeezing the stripy goo on to his brush. He also really enjoys the taste. In his words it’s like “super duper loopy lemon pie” (in reality it’s a milder version of grown-up mint flavoured toothpaste and definitely does not taste like lemon pie – we’d be a tube a day family if it did).

He’s so enthusiastic about the teeth cleaning experience he helps his two-year-old sister to get her teeth sparkling. She loves seeing The Wiggles on the Milk Teeth tube, although I get the impression she’s a bit tired of her brother starting every teeth clean with a full-length rendition of Hot Potato. She also finds the flip-top lid easy to open, something I need to keep my eye on unless I want a whole bathroom decorated in minty freshness!

Thanks to Macleans and the Nurdle Durdles my son is very proud of his incredibly clean teeth. Now all I need is someone to invent an app to get him to eat his broccoli.