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totally giving up trying to brush my 2-year old DD's teeth?

(94 Posts)
quesadilla Sat 13-Apr-13 20:10:35

(sorry, I know this is stretching the definition of an AIBU but I posted in parenting and got one very unhelpful reply). Two year old has developed a recent phobia about tooth-brushing. For nearly three weeks I literally haven't been able to get a toothbrush in her mouth (she screams blue murder and clamps her mouth shut) and I'm getting quite worried about decay. (Yeah I know they will all fall out later but I don't want her to have decayed teeth at seven). The only poster who has responded to this so far just said I have to force her to do it but I can't actually get her to open her mouth so that wasn't particularly helpful. She hasn't responded to various alternatives including me brushing my teeth in front of her, various bits of bribery etc. Any suggestions? Am at my wits' end....

Willdoitinaminute Sat 13-Apr-13 20:15:57

Have you tried different toothpastes. Many young children don't like the taste of mint however mild, your two yr old is probably too young to tell you. The only way they can register dislike is by clamping mouth shut.

You could try an electric toothbrush since they are fascinated by them. Get one with a spare head and use it yourself, my DS was begging to use mine when he went through this stage.

GlitterySkulls Sat 13-Apr-13 20:17:06

what i have to do is wrap DS in a towel & plant him between my legs so he can't free his hands, wait for him to open his mouth & get the toothbrush in, quick brush & release.

not ideal but better than nothing.

i totally agree with you re: decay, but if she wont open up i don't see what you can do bar (gently) make her.

VisualiseAHorse Sat 13-Apr-13 20:17:07

Try one of these - start by giving it to her with nothing on, then once she's comfortable, add some nice tasting toothpaste. She doesn't have to actually brush with this, just chew on it! I have one for my 11 month old LO, and I cover it with Bonjela for when he's teething - it means I don't accidently jab him in his sore gums and he has more control over it.

Smartiepants79 Sat 13-Apr-13 20:17:09

Our 2.7 does something similar sometimes. I wouldn't class it as a phobia, just stubbornness.
I have to say I do just 'make' her. Push the toothbrush in and scrub. She cries but its non-negotiable and she gets over it pretty quick.
However, I have initiated a sticker chart which she likes and responds reasonably well to.
We also bought one of these,default,pd.html
So she looks at her teeth while brushing, she loves it!
Also when do you do the brushing, try different times in the day if you can, maybe when she is less tired.

Sirzy Sat 13-Apr-13 20:17:53

have you let her try it herself?

McNewPants2013 Sat 13-Apr-13 20:18:13

With DD she will only have pink toothbrush and pink toothpaste.

It is not mint flavour, maybe bubblegum

ClaimedByMe Sat 13-Apr-13 20:20:24

Headlock and force the toothbrush in, if they cry even better cos then the mouth is open, I revealed this recently to our dentist who complimented me on my dc oral health and she said she would rather hear parents do that than treat children who havent brushed their teeth, she sees loads of children who need fillings and teeth removed!

justabigdisco Sat 13-Apr-13 20:20:49

I've had something similar. I just decided to completely back off for a while and try not to stress about it. I'd hand her the toothbrush in the bath and let her have a chew on it. Lots of praise. I just thought a few days of not brushing wont matter. It worked - we gradually built back up to proper brushing.

MiconiumHappens Sat 13-Apr-13 20:21:23

Long shot and maybe everyone does it, but I make up stories when brushing their teeth. Normally with a tooth related theme.

PoppyWearer Sat 13-Apr-13 20:24:13

Those chewy banana brushes are good. My DC1 also preferred the Dentinox teething toothpaste to other toothpastes.

What finally "cracked" my tooth-brushing-refusing DC1 was a programme of tooth brushing at nursery, which they turned into a game.

Holding them down is all well and good, but I've been told that parental brushing is more effective if done from overhead/behind. aged almost 5yo my DC1 has tooth decay. She has my family's rubbish teeth and that is that. We are embarking on a hideously-expensive round of tooth repairs, privately at a specialist dentist.

If you can afford it, would a tooth education/brushing/cleaning education session with a specialist child dentist be an option? I know it might be a bit sledgehammer-to-crack-a-walnut but believe me, it's cheaper and less traumatic than fillings etc.

If you are anywhere near London/Surrey/Berks PM me and I can recommend one.

AllDirections Sat 13-Apr-13 20:24:19

I'm another 'forcer' but only when all else had failed. To be fair I only had to do it a few times with each child before they knew I meant business. Then they always chose the 'easy' way rather than the 'hard' way. It's non negotiable in my house.

OhHullitsOnlyMeYoni Sat 13-Apr-13 20:25:23

My 20mo loves these style - I stocked up on some in Poundland months ago and have one with an elephant head and one with a cat. I ask her which she wants in the morning, cover it in paste and then immediately do mine. She loves sticking it to the side of the bath/in the shower and usually chews it and asks for more toothpaste. I think she sees it as more of a toy, which is what I wanted, so that it isn't seen as a chore.

onceipopicantstop Sat 13-Apr-13 20:26:44

Hi DS aged 3 has just been through a similar phase. But after weeks of trying different tactics it has suddenly got better on its own. The only thing we do say is no bedtime story until teeth are cleaned. During the difficult period one thing we did find worked was trying to make him laugh - so one of us would do silly things whilst the other cleaned whilst he was distracted and had his mouth open!

PenelopePipPop Sat 13-Apr-13 20:27:23

My one won't brush her teeth for me. Why would she comply with my requests. I'd love her even if all her teeth fell out. But she lurves the dentist - she thinks he is Prince Charming because he calls her Miss Hollywood and gives her stickers. So I say 'You wouldn't want to make the dentist sad would you?' and then she opens up a bit and lets me brush for the length of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, before she takes over to spit and finish the job herself.

Obviously this does depend on you finding a lovely dentist, your two year old making a visit and falling for him/her, and subsequently being as much of a people pleaser as mine. All of which are big asks. But you did say you were at your wits end.

Other than that dentist Prince Charming (who is in 60s and seems pretty relaxed about small kids - you're playing a long game here, missing the odd brush now will not mean they have no teeth at thirty, getting a massive dental phobia might) just said if they are rubbish about brushing as lots of them are get hardcore on sugary drinks and avoid milk near bedtime, don't kid yourself that raisins are any better than jelly beans for their teeth and encourage them to have savoury snacks wherever possible.

ouryve Sat 13-Apr-13 20:28:04

DS2 was like this (and still is sometimes.) We realised he was very particular about tooth brushing routine - he'd refuse to open his mouth if he hadn't seen me wet the toothbrush, for example. I eventually got cooperation by using the old CBeebies bedtime toothbrushing song - he willingly opened his mouth for as long as I was singing. I still use it sometimes, though DS1 usually yells at me for it grin

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 13-Apr-13 20:28:40

you've got to stick with it - we use (minimal) force if needed
tooth decay is just horrible
<mouth still really sore and tender from complicated extraction on Weds>

we have recently had some unexpected success with a rather lame sounding technique in which I hunt for whichever animals might be hiding in dd2's mouth eg "open really wide, i think i can see a squirrel hiding up the back", inspired by reading animal soup.

purpleloosestrife Sat 13-Apr-13 20:28:52

hmm having had various foster children I try lots of different tactics.

Underlying ALL of them is a firm but fair attitude.

I never skip ( despite it initially being a major hassle)

I sing silly songs ( brush brush brush you mustn't rush rush rush )

I encourage them to brush my teeth at the same time - they seem to love this

I encourage them to brush their own teeth ( with me just "helping" at the end)

I praise brushing...

If they clamp their mouths, I make them laugh...and open them!

and I keep telling my toddlers.... this will happen every morning and every night, because we need our teeth to be healthy and beautiful- get used to it!!

louismummy Sat 13-Apr-13 20:28:56

i think smartiepants has it right. To me its non negotiable. You could wrap her in a towel / clamp her in your legs ( facing away from you) then you have one hand to hold her head and one to brush, wriggle the brush in the tightly clamped lips and off you go. If she screams then its quite easy. I would personally not go down the other flavours types of toothpaste as when they get older and need adult toothpaste its very difficult to get them to change. I see that a lot. Prevention of decay is much better than cure, believe me!

CreepyLittleBat Sat 13-Apr-13 20:30:38

Another idea - don't know how useful it will be, but my dd likes to brush the ducky's teeth (I know, I know...) We have a spare toothbrush that she uses to brush the bath duck's teeth, and while she's distracted, I do hers.

Maggie111 Sat 13-Apr-13 20:37:50

You can get finger brushes - perhaps that would help first?

If you're really struggling speak to your dentist - there are specially trained dentists for children and phobias and special needs etc.

LittlePoot Sat 13-Apr-13 20:42:40

Mine was like this when he was a bit younger and we scoured Mumsnet then found a really useful old thread with some imaginative suggestions. Obviously didn't do anything useful like save the link though-sorry! One that worked briefly for us was pretending there were animals in his mouth to brush out. "oh-quick-there's a penguin in your mouth! Let's get it with the brush!" Worked for a few weeks then stopped again. Then my mate leant me a book called hot hippo-an African story about why hippos live on the water which ends with hippo having to open his mouth wide to show there's no fish in it-so for a while we could then open our mouths wide like hippo and that worked. At the moment we have a toothbrushing song to the tune of let's go fly a kite. Started with"let's go brush your teeth, let's brush your lovely teeth, let's go brush your teeth and make them shiny....." And now he chooses the topic and I sing to order (yes I am going a bit nuts but at least I can get the brush in for a bit). Maybe something like this might work? Oh-last thing-when he turned two and those big back molars came through, he wouldn't let me near him for a few days but that got better on its own. Good luck!

bumbleymummy Sat 13-Apr-13 20:43:29

We used silly songs and jokes about what DS had eaten - "is that a dinosaur back there? What? When were you eating dinosaurs?" Etc. made him laugh long enough to get the tooth brush in! smile

freerangeeggs Sat 13-Apr-13 20:44:48

I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but if you're worried about decay try some fluoride tablets.

They used to give them out for free at school/nursery. My brother and I both took them for years and have had no big issues with decay - a couple of fillings each. My other brother and sister didn't get the tablets and they've had to have root canals and all sorts. The difference is quite startling.

You can also buy vegetable dye tablets that dye the plaque on the teeth. If she sucks on the tablet for a little while it might help you to explain to her why brushing your teeth is so important (I remember it being a bit of a shocker when I was little!).

bumbleymummy Sat 13-Apr-13 20:45:24

Littlepoot also reminded me that he loved this picture in one of our books of an elephant getting its teeth brushed. Any videos on you tube of various animals getting their teeth brushed that you could watch together?

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