An Ode to Pokémon Smile :: The App that Changed Toothbrushing Forever

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child brushing teeth

I no longer have to fight with my 4-year-old about brushing her teeth.

That statement, my friends, is nothing short of a legitimate miracle. My kiddo has sensory struggles, hates being “helped” with anything, and has been in feeding therapy since toddlerhood.

I know I’m not the only one who can say brushing my child’s teeth used to be an absolute nightmare. There were fights and tears and lots of begging and bribery. Every. Single. Day. 

Sound familiar? You’re totally not alone.

We tried all the things. We bought a special Sesame Street toothbrush and trolls toothpaste. We tried a mechanical toothbrush. There were sticker charts and games of Simon Says. The toothbrush songs by Elmo and Daniel Tiger haunted me in my sleep, and fun visual timers didn’t work.

Long story short, we were all in desperate need of a break. 

And then the toothbrushing Gods smiled down on us (pun intended) and created the app that changed our toothbrushing nightmare experience forever. On top of that, it was free. 

The first time we used the Pokémon Smile app, we knew it’d stick. The technology uses your phone’s front-facing camera to analyze your child’s brushing for the time set with the customizable timer. The diagram in the bottom right-hand corner shows where your child should be brushing and for how long. They get to “wear” a fun Instagram-like hat and watch their chosen Pokémon fight the purple gunk on their teeth while they brush it away. At the end, they are rewarded by catching the Pokémon and getting fun stickers and new hats. There’s cute music, a strong nostalgic factor, and the characters are adorable. It’s a win-win-win.

After using it for several months, my 4-year-old can be trusted to brush her teeth almost by herself. No whining, no crying, no arguing. 

Some may say it’s an unnecessary two minutes of screen time for a preschooler, but if it saves me 30 minutes of preventable stress… bring it on.

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