Teeth Brushing Help — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Teeth Brushing Help

Anyone else going through a mega battle when you try to brush their teeth.  For so long my LO was ok kind of doing it himself, especially when watch me brush my teeth.  Now it is near impossible to get the brush near his mouth.  Tips or advice?

Re: Teeth Brushing Help

  • Daughter used to fight toothbrushing badly!! She is very into books, so we got a book called "brush brush brush" (a "rookie toddler" book). I was shocked when the first time husband read it to her while brushing her teeth she was totally calm and happily had her teeth brushed!!! It's not totally consistent, she still fusses about it sometimes, but it's ALOT better than it was!! She's not brushing on her own at all yet, though. And I'm not really sure why it worked for her, or if it would work for your kiddo or not.
  • I used the cat app which showed the cat brushing it's teeth and a timer for my toddler to do the same, my friend had a toothbrush that was one color for toddler, another color for adult to finish and a final color for "all done!". That worked for us.

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  • Thanks for the advice.  I will probably give both a try and see what works.
  • We have also tried musical and flashing light toothbrushes to add a little interest. There is an app I think by Oral-B that you scan your toothbrush and it shows a picture of the character slowly as you brush which DS likes too. Or when all else fails bribes.
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  • Do you use a kid's toothpaste? We use Tom's of Maine strawberry and DS likes the flavor a lot so he kind of wants to brush to get it. He doesn't like minty/grown up kinds because they are too strong I think.

    Also you could try making it a game somehow? We sing a little song I made up that just goes "we brush your teeth! we brush brush brush!" 

    Sorry if you've already tried these ideas- that's all I've got. Don't give up! The consistency of discussing brushing and asking kiddo to do it is what will ultimately establish the good habit after toddlerhood. :)
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  • jmknoxjmknox
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    Yes every night. And I'm a dentist so I'm like, we are brushing these teeth!! It's not the tooth brushing time that's a fight it's just that he doesn't like his upper teeth brushed, only his lowers. I do all the brushing first and let him get his mini fit out of the way and then give him the brush to use, usually I will add a little more of the fluoride free paste on it. I also have a little brush to use at the same time so then "we " brush together. He likes offering me his tooth brush or sometimes he tries to brush my teeth too LOL. Other than the screamy fit of brushing the top teeth it seems to be working ok. We have been doing this since 7 months. It's important you brush because otherwise plaque could be missed along the gum lime. Kids don't have the manual dexterity to actually brush super well until they are much much older. I have had to at times hold my son down while he cries to brush his teeth. I think of you can get to a positive reward right after that (like a book, song, handing him the brush) then you should be fine. It may hurt you now to see him fuss but it would hurt more if they have to be sedated to have dental work done later. A lot of kids I see that have cavities the parents are disappointed because they only thought they were doing a good job brushing alone but kiddos need parents help brushing much longer than folks realize. Good luck! Hope this helps!
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  • I have no idea if this will help you, but my son is 10 months old and recently started hating having his teeth brushed as well.  One day, randomly, he laid down on my lap, face up, and I tried brushing his teeth then - HE LET ME! It's weird, because he fights it tooth and nail (ha, pun!) when he is sitting up or standing, but if he is laying down or sort of at an incline, he doesn't mind it. I don't get it, my husband doesn't get it, but it works! Maybe a different position would help? Good luck! 
  • Willy, we took our DD to a pediatric dentist recently and what you did is exactly what he recommended. Good to hear it works!

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  • It's hit or miss with my daughter. Some days she lets me and other days it's a struggle. When it doesn't work with me, usually my husband can get her to brush.
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