Tooth-brushing by brute force

(51 Posts)
mowmylawn Fri 07-Mar-14 21:12:11

Someone else please tell me they had to pin down their kid to brush their teeth and that their child did not wind up in therapy because of it. Our DD (22 months) clamps her mouth shut at brushing time, and if she so much as sees the toothbrush she starts crying (this was before we decided drastic action was needed).

We did the finger brushing when she was little, then moved to a chewable brush and all she did was suck the toothpaste off of it and hand it back to us. We've tried every trick in every post in every thread in every forum and nothing is working, so we're going to have to pin her down and force it on her. My dentist said this is what he does with his kids which made me feel slightly (?) better about it.

Anyone else been there/done that please tell me everything turned out OK with no dental phobias!

Cies Fri 07-Mar-14 21:28:31

Yup, have done that on occasion. And ds is now 4 and happily brushes, although not well enough to leave him to his own devices.

stargirl1701 Fri 07-Mar-14 21:29:29

Yes. DD is 18 months and we do this when needed. Non- negotiable on this one!

ToddleWaddle Fri 07-Mar-14 21:33:31

Done with mine as well. Far worse to hold them down for a GA for tooth extractions.
Mine quite happily brush now.

Newsofaarrived Fri 07-Mar-14 21:36:23

We use the aqua fresh brush time app now and it's transformed ds teeth brushing.

olivo Fri 07-Mar-14 21:38:45

Have done the pinning down for both of mine, who now happily do their own and don't mind the dentist. I recommend the brush time app though, a. Great distraction!

WoweeZowee Fri 07-Mar-14 21:41:51

Yep. Have to do it sometimes due to total non-compliance but don't really like to! Three things that have reduced the frequency of doing it like that with DS (24mo) are - using a (battery operated) child's electric toothbrush. It's got Spiderman on it and it's far more exciting to use (and quicker). This has made it much less like wrestlemania all round. Also, brushing well before bed: With us the clamping often goes hand in hand with tiredness. And distraction - tooth brushing while he's engrossed in something else sometimes works (if he stands still long enough). Good luck!

glub Fri 07-Mar-14 21:58:02

we did this too. dd and ds got to learn that tooth brushing could happen the easy way or the hard way, but that it was always going to happen!
if it had to be the hard way i'd usually ask half way through brushing if they wanted to switch to the easy way, i.e. with them standing still and co-operating.
one is now very good at tooth brushing and will even remember when i forget, the other is ok but is easily distracted. dentist not a problem for either.

Jaffakake Fri 07-Mar-14 22:11:03

Yep, I've done it too. He even bit his lip once & bled. I hated it every time. We've tried everything & tbh no story & straight to bed instead had the most impact. I don't like ending the day like that, but it did work.

We did, briefly, but only had to do it for a tiny bit. We started doing teeth in the bath, which they love, and if they didn't comply they got unceremoniously hoiked out of hte bath, wrapped restrained in a towel, teeth brushed.
Pretty quickly they became happy to have us help them brush their teeth in the bath. Then we bought a step-seat thing so they can do teeth up at the sink like mummy and daddy, some character toothbrushes, and they are mostly happy to let us do it, then finish off themselves now. Definitely worth the fight in my book.

atthestrokeoftwelve Fri 07-Mar-14 22:19:22

No and I have had a refuser. We just need to be a bit more creative in our approach. I do agree that toothbrushing is essential but I wouln't do it be force.

A friend did this with her daughter whilst I was there. She got so upset, she went blue and floppy. Never been so scared sad

sparkle101 Fri 07-Mar-14 22:29:59

We had to do this with dd and then one day she just decided to help. A couple of ideas from the ladies on here were; to get them to do a big cheesy grin to show their teeth and be so impressed and feign blinding from the brightness! Also let them brush your teeth before you do theirs. To have a "cheese off" who can do the biggest cheesiest grin.

It does get better, I don't know what changed but it did and she's a dream to do her teeth now.

LongTailedTit Fri 07-Mar-14 22:31:49

Bedtime tooth brushing is done by 'force', ie DS on my lap, head held, then I brush his teeth with varying degrees of cooperation. Sometimes it's a battle, sometimes he's happy to gape, sometimes he brushes them himself and I do a once over after. The last month it's mainly been a battle.

Morning brushings I still see as optional (nearly 3) and are at his request, so he'll sometimes join me and do his himself while I do mine. He loves to stand on the step and 'spit' into the sink after, but I have no idea why he's resistant in the evenings. We need to change up his routine and see if that helps.

mowmylawn Fri 07-Mar-14 22:36:52

I am clearly reading the wrong threads, as I have never heard of a brush time app before - must check this out. Jaffa she made her lip bleed tonight and I felt dreadful, but then I think about how much worse it would be if she was in the dentist's chair getting work done.

You know the Friends episode where Chandler can't smile - where he sees a camera and his face goes all absurd? That's what it's like when DD sees a toothbrush - she can be happy as Larry and as soon as she sees that brush it's like her face starts to melt.

minibmw2010 Sat 08-Mar-14 08:11:56

We have had to do this, I hate it as he gets so distressed but if it has to happen then it does. I just downloaded that app, it looks like there should be sound but mine is quiet? Any ideas ??

olivo Sat 08-Mar-14 08:37:54

Ours sometimes goes quiet, just come out of it and go back in. You'll soon be wishing it was silent again.....wink

Willdoitinaminute Sat 08-Mar-14 14:01:49

You can get a toothbrush that fits on your finger like a finer puppet. Much easier to use on a refuser than toothbrush and brilliant with babies.

Willdoitinaminute Sat 08-Mar-14 14:02:03


Nordicmom Sat 08-Mar-14 14:08:20

I've done this with both kids ds9 y and dd 22m when they were little . Now both have now problem ! Don't worry . Washing teeth is something they'll have to do its very mportant and the sooner you get used to it the better . They won't be traumatised smile.

Nordicmom Sat 08-Mar-14 14:12:52

I've also resorted into having dd lie down on the changing table and tickled her and then gotten there quickly with the brush but not done it for too long and then given her the brush . She likes to do it herself but I say I need to first to do it properly .then lots of praise . I tried not to make it a big issue but something we never the less do twice a day whether she's in the mood or not . Now she asks for it smile

indigenoustothesofa Sat 08-Mar-14 18:31:21

Yep! Definitely done this a couple of times. One such time was during an overnight stay at the PILs' house, and the consequent crying and screeching from ds resulted in MIL running in screaming at us to "Stop torturing him!!!" because he was going to end up "mentally scarred!!!" I told her pretty sharply to never accuse me of torturing my child again. And thus began the deterioration of our relationship.

Anyway, my point is, it's better than your dc ending up unhappy with their teeth due to their parents failing to enforce proper dental care as is the case with my DH.

ghostinthecanvas Sat 08-Mar-14 18:35:57

Browse amazon. They have loads of different timers and devices to encourage toothbrushing.

ghostinthecanvas Sat 08-Mar-14 18:37:57

Mcpheezing I used to babysit a child that would hold his breath when tantrumming. It is scary.

indigenoustothesofa Sat 08-Mar-14 18:40:43

Have to say, though, that if ds had actually sounded as though he was being 'tortured' then I would have stopped... before anyone gets the wrong idea!

drspouse Sat 08-Mar-14 18:56:25

We usually do it while he's having his nappy changed/after that on the nappy mat after his bath. He has a bit more of his bedtime milk after his bath, while having his nappy changed. If he doesn't willingly open his mouth, he gets pinned down, basically. If he yells, so much easier to brush them.

Tickling also helps!

I generally think that given how quickly he goes from YOU'RE KILLING ME HOW CAN YOU DO THAT to WOW WHAT FUN WE ARE HAVING I'M LAUGHING MY HEAD OFF to MUMMY I LOVE YOU YOU'RE THE BEST PERSON IN THE WORLD TO GIVE ME CUDDLES I reckon I'm not actually torturing him.

willdoitinaminute that finger brush would just result in being bitten, here.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sun 09-Mar-14 08:20:13

It must be horrible to have your teeth brushed forcibly. I would hate it. It's an invasion.

I do think that tooth brushing needs to be done- but us parents need to find ways to get it done without force.

drspouse Sun 09-Mar-14 13:09:03

If you have any genuine suggestions that the rest of us haven't already tried, we're all ears. But I suspect that we have tried them already.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sun 09-Mar-14 17:15:52

I am not the mother of your child. All children are different- it's your job to work out what motivates your children, not mine.

Octopus37 Sun 09-Mar-14 17:30:24

To me force is the only way sometimes, it is one of those things that is non-negotiable. Surely a mouth full of rotten teeth, resulting in pain for your child, a bollocking from the dentist and judgement from lots of people is worse. By the way this hasn't to date happened to my children, still not their favourite thing but I did get through the forcing stage.

drspouse Sun 09-Mar-14 19:02:18

atthestroke No, you aren't the parent of my child. So I'm not quite sure why you are saying a) that I need to find a way to brush my child's teeth without force or b) how you know this is possible.

Thurlow Sun 09-Mar-14 19:09:13

Another vote for the Aquafresh app, it's free and it's.completely changed things for us. Really is worth a try.

elfycat Sun 09-Mar-14 19:11:15

I pinned 3.5yo DD2 today. I used a child electric toothbrush while chanting 'tickle monster is getting your teeth clean' as a mantra. When she clamped her teeth down on that brush grinning DH passed me a normal brush and I got the teeth on the other side.

Tickle monster likes to tickle the backs of teeth, at the back of the mouth and behind teeth. She mostly giggles. I stop when I can see her mood turn. Sometimes she'll do a thorough job by herself but she's going through a rebellious phase 6 months and counting.

hazeyjane Sun 09-Mar-14 20:04:13

AtTheStroke - The only way we have found to clean ds's teeth is to wrap him in a towel, and get in as quickly as possible, I use a Collis Curve brush which helps. It is something he hates and we are trying everything we can to make it better for him,but it has to be done.

He has no enamel on his back molars and reduced enamel on the others (he has a rare genetic condition), this combined with reflux and repeated courses of antibiotics has left him with awful teeth, and unfortunately he has to have his 4 back molars out under general anaesthetic next month. .

My eldest dd also had to have 2 baby teeth removed, she also had reflux, but the main cause of problems was that I thought she was brushing them properly, when she wasn't. Our dentist said that children needed there patents to actually get in to brush them until they were 7.

Dental pain, crumbling teeth and general anaesthetics are far more upsetting than a short moment of upset having your teeth brushed, followed by lots of cuddles.

hazeyjane Sun 09-Mar-14 20:05:25

Sorry, should have added- ds is 3.8.

Louisasb Sun 09-Mar-14 20:52:46

Aqua fresh app again. It has transformed teeth brushing and now ds 20 months runs to the sofa to have his teeth cleaned while watching the toothbrush man!! He loves to change his outift after. It's great!!

We have this every evening with 25mo dd2. She detests having her teeth brushed. DD1 has always done it happily. Am just downloading the app. We resort to force as well. I've got terrible teeth, I'm damned if my child will have too.

ghostinthecanvas Sun 09-Mar-14 22:18:57

Try letting the kids brush the adults teeth too. Its fun. Messy but fun.

Beastofburden Sun 09-Mar-14 22:26:40

We had no apps when mine were little but we did have strawberry flavoured toothpaste grin

With a very disabled DS who couldn't co-operate, by far the most important thing was prevention. So, until she is a good brusher, I would suggest no sweet fluids at all- no fruit juice, squash, fizzy drinks etc. no sugar in yoghurts or sweets either, ideally. It won't replace brushing but it will buy you some time.

Also, if she gags, get a smaller brush head. I use electric toothbrushes on DS2 as I don't get in there for long, it's more effective, I don't have to brush as such, just hold it in there, it has a smaller head and it makes a cool noise.

But, hey, you think you have problems. DS2 is almost 18 and is currently refusing to be shaved sad. Holding him down while I wave a blade at his carotid artery is a bit more of a problem....

drspouse Mon 10-Mar-14 09:18:09

Sorry to say that the app is not going to work as I cannot hold DS's mouth open at the same time as turning on/off the app so he gets the reward when he's actually having his teeth brushed, but not when he isn't. I need more hands. I'm going back to the forcible hugging approach.

Beastofburden Mon 10-Mar-14 10:23:20

I think the point of the app is that he holds his own mouth open smile - but I can remember the days of holding a child's nose so he was forced to open his mouth....

When DS was very small he wouldnt open his mouth for the dentist. The dentist held him upside down by his feet; the child's mouth dropped open in amazement, and the dentist got to have a good look. No longer works, as he is now six foot....

hazeyjane Mon 10-Mar-14 10:25:26

Beast, that is funny - ds sees a sn dentist, and the only way she could look in his mouth was for him to lie upside down on my lap, and she lay on the floor - it was a bizarre sight!

We often clean ds's teeth like this too, if dh is around - he holds him upside down, and I clean!

Beastofburden Mon 10-Mar-14 10:35:44

doesn't he choke when you hold him upside down to clean? I never quite fancied that- though if it worked, it could be good!

hazeyjane Mon 10-Mar-14 10:44:22

strangely, it is the only position he doesn't choke in! when we brush upright he struggles a lot more with the extra frothiness.

Thurlow Mon 10-Mar-14 10:47:09

Dr, have you tried the app? Not doubting anything about how you need to clean your DC's teeth, just wondered if you'd tried it at all - it just plays a video and we prop it on the back of the loo while sitting down with DD on our lap. So once it is started you still have two hands free to clean their teeth, you don't need to do anything with your hands.

circlebeginning Mon 10-Mar-14 10:50:01

The In the Night Garden Tombliboo toothbrushing song?

Beastofburden Mon 10-Mar-14 11:20:14

well FWIW DS2 now loves cleaning his teeth. The only problem is, he loves it too much. Long after he has been put to bed we hear stealthy feet sneaking downstairs to the bathroom for another go. Unfortunately he also takes and hides the toothpaste so only he gets to use it. Which means when we go to bed there is a tedious phase of wandering round the house in a towel trying to find the frigging colgate.

Sheneverdid Mon 10-Mar-14 11:41:16

Does she have other teeth about to come through? her gums may be feeling tender.

Dd hated having her teeth cleaned and I never resorted to forcing, she didn't eat much sugary food etc so I wasn't that fussed tbh. By the age of 3 she started brushing herself using this. A recent trip to the dentist showed that her rarely cleaning for 3 years wasn't an issue as her teeth are all perfect.

hazeyjane Mon 10-Mar-14 11:57:53

That is the same as the collis curve brush.

It is great that she has good teeth, our dentist recommends using disclosing tablets weekly, to ensure they are doing a good job if they are doing it themselves.

Unfortunately ds's teeth were knackered before he was 3.

drspouse Mon 10-Mar-14 14:11:26

Thurlow yes, I tried the app. I just said that I tried it. It is no good if he just watches the app with his teeth clamped firmly shut - they are no more brushed than they would be without it! So the app needs to be contingent on him actually having his teeth brushed, and I need to be able to turn it OFF if he stops having his teeth brushed. And I can't.

BreakfastEpiphany Tue 01-Apr-14 21:06:49

We have a 2.5 yr old that has only just now started to respond to getting a sticker if he lets me brush his teeth. It was a miracle the first time I bribed sorry rewarded (!) Him with a sticker.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now