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how do you brush your baby's teeth?

(53 Posts)
happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 15:11:45

I admit we haven't tried as often as we should, but when we do she just clamps her mouth shut and won't let us anywhere near her. The only way I think we could do it would be for one person to pin her down and the other do it, which I'm reluctant to do..

What does everyone else do? (She's 13 months)

oldmum42 Thu 07-Jul-11 15:37:41

you can get these silicone "finger brushes" that go over your finger and have soft "bristles"- even if you were just rubbing that round the outside of her teeth (if she wont open them),it would get her used to the process and you could move onto a toothbrush later.

Stand behind her (or sit her on your lap),as the angles are easier (to get your finger in her mouth).

If she hates toothpaste, get a fruity, not minty one.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 15:40:29

Thanks for those tips, yes she does hate the toothpaste so will buy some fruity ones..never knew you could get that, or the finger brushes either.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 15:41:43

Just googled, does anyone know if the dentinox toothpaste isn't minty? Doesn't seem to say.

mousymouse Thu 07-Jul-11 15:43:49

at that age we were still very happy if the dc got any toothbrush/paste into her mouth.
let her hold the brush herself, give her a brush to pretend to brusch your teeth.
don't force her, that will only make things difficult in the future.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 15:46:14

That's what I was thinking mousy, I don't want to give her a complex. She let me put my toothbrush in her mouth this morning (think she'd forgotten what it was like) but then recoiled in horror and wouldn't let me near her again. She'll chew her toothbrush but not if it has toothpaste on it, and def won't even let us attempt to brush her teeth. I looked at her today though and felt very guilty as she has gotten so many teeth recently, and also she still has bottles of milk every day, and I can't see her stopping them any time soon.

worldgonecrazy Thu 07-Jul-11 15:46:38

Give her a baby toothbrush with a smear of age-appropriate toothpaste. Sit in front of her with your toothbrush and make a big show of brushing your teeth. She will copy you and eventually get the hang of it. As long as some toothpaste meets teeth she will be fine. It's more important to watch what she eats - sweets are obviously bad as are things like raisins which stick to the teeth. Cheese is a good thing to give to counteract the acidity of sugars.

If she trusts you enough, you can gently brush her teeth for a couple of seconds and build up over a period of time.

My 18 month old brushes her own teeth twice a day and has only just figured out the actual 'brushing'. Prior to that it was more of a chewing of the brush.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 16:17:45

Have done all of that worldgonecrazy, not working yet unfortunately. I think if her bunny comforter brushed her teeth she would be interested, but us, no chance!

As said above though, perhaps some of it is the taste of the toothpaste, so changing that will hopefully help. Her diet is good apart from she loves raisins, they're what have been worrying me the most.

CombineArvester Thu 07-Jul-11 16:22:12

Make her lie down. As soon as she starts screaming start brushing the teeth. The more she screams the more teeth you see. Both mine got over this quite quickly once they realised whatever they did, their teeth would get brushed. They then (about 18 months) get a big thrill out of brushing their own teeth.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 16:31:56

You're a tougher woman than me Combine! Although, that is what we used to do with medicine when she wouldn't take it off the spoon...she soon learnt to cry with her mouth shut grin Same thing seems to happen with teethbrushing, she knows to just shut her mouth very firmly.

It could be done by holding her arms and forcing the toothbrush in her mouth, but I really don't feel comfortable doing that.

CombineArvester Thu 07-Jul-11 16:42:40

Happygilmore I'm going to say something that sounds really mean...but if you don't brush her teeth and do give raisins etc. you might end up holding her down before she goes under general anaesthetic to have teeth removed.....

Brushing teeth, just like being strapped into a car seat, is not negotiable and if all the nice ways have not worked, lie her down, gently hold her hands against her chest and shove the brush in.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 16:57:17

No fair enough, we've stopped the raisins as much recently as I was getting worried about this sort of thing. In my defence I'm very ill waiting for surgery, and I suppose we try and follow the path of least resistance sometimes..but I don't want her to have bad teeth, hence me posting here today.

(In my defence she only got her teeth through very recently, they all came through at once, so it's not been like this for months)

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 16:59:25

Gosh that's a defensive post isn't!! What I also meant to say, was I've been a bit worried about making her scared of the toothbrush/us, which might make the situation worse, if that makes sense.

CombineArvester Thu 07-Jul-11 17:07:18

I can understand that you don't want to make a big phobia of it. What do you do with other things that she hates but has to do? DS1 hates getting hair washed. Have tried everything. Now we just have to try and keep him as calm as possible and just do it as quickly as possible but we only wash it once a week. How about lying her down holding a comfort object, keep talking in low calm voice (I used to say sorry sweetheart we have to brush our teeth) and do it real quick with the old glittery toothbrush. Then only put yourself her through it once a day.

You are not alone, there are thousands of parents forcing kids to brush their teeth and she will grow out of it. She will follow your mood - try to be calm not anxious / shouty whilst doing it, be the old bored policeman.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 17:13:44

I suppose the only thing we've had to force is medicine, which obviously you just have to do..but not every day, so not like this. She's not scared at all of her toothbrush now, just refuses to open her mouth. It sounds ridiculous as she is only a baby, but forcing it open is almost impossible (when I say we pushed through with the medicine, I'm only half telling the truth, most of the time we struggled to get it in her even with two of us holding her down, so put it in her bottle).

I'm hoping the different flavoured toothpaste helps, she certainly seems to hate the taste of the minty stuff.

CombineArvester Thu 07-Jul-11 17:23:46

Surely she cries / shouts in protest at some point though? MAybe at the point you lie her on the floor and hold her hands - the minute she cries shove the brush in. The older she gets the more of these little battles you may have to fight - when the two year old doesn't want to hold hands when you cross the road, when you make her she doesn't develop a phobia of holding hands, she just gets really mad with you!

If this is totally against your parenting ethos (e.g. you wouldn't be happy to force her to hold hands crossing the road) maybe you could ask the AP lot about tooth brushing? They may have other suggestions, try starting a thread with AP / UP in the title and tooth brushing.

Oh one more thing - you could try brushing at a different time of the day so she's not expecting it and already clamping her mouth shut! Keep the bloody brush and paste in the kitchen or something.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 17:37:40

I think with all the medicine dramas she knows when something comes towards your mouth you don't like, you shut it! She doesn't actually cry with the toothbrush, just sees it and clamps her mouth shut. Quite funny really. When it happened with the medicine she would go from screaming her head off to mouth shut and quiet in a second when she saw the syringe coming..quite clever I suppose!

I'm not an AP type really, if we were crossing the road I'd make her in that siutation, I'm the mum after all. I think the reason I've felt differently about this is was balancing pinning her down to do it vs making it harder in the long term.

In my naivety I thought we'd do the whole 'watching us brush our teeth together' thing and she'd just get the idea, which may work in the long term, but I think her teeth might be rotten by then! So we definitely need to get on with this now.

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 18:19:20

Me and DH have just done it, sort of. Usual mouth clamping, but after trying to force her mouth open we then got tears and I forced the brush in. Cue her then clamping her mouth shut completely but I got a bit done. Better than before I suppose, but she isn't bothered now it's done.

We should definitely have tried harder before, you are right.

sugarbea Thu 07-Jul-11 18:32:44

I use 2 toothbrushes grin my dd likes to copy everything so while ds is brushing his teeth she pretends to do hers and I brush with the second toothbrush while her mouth is open. We swap a few times but it gets done without tears. I was told that when looking for toothpastes the flouride level for under 5s should be at 1000. (you can find it at the back of the tooth paste) the fruity ones aren't usually very good for their teeth but tesco does a strawberry one at the right flouride level. smile

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 18:35:46

Thanks sugarbea, wish DD would copy us too, she much prefers things her way! Tried that a few times but she looks at me like I'm insane. Our HV said in this area we can just use normal adult toothpaste here, so have just been using that.

sugarbea Thu 07-Jul-11 18:58:01

Oh I'd defiantly find a different tooth paste then. My ds is 6 and only just starting to use the same one me and oh use which he hates with a passion. You'll get there eventually as long as you persevere. Has she got a dolly or teddy who's teeth you can pretend to brush maybe? Perhaps if she sees you do it to someone/something else it might seem less traumatic.

sugarbea Thu 07-Jul-11 18:58:39

Definitely not defiantly blush sorry iPhone predictive text grin

queenebay Thu 07-Jul-11 19:00:58

I asked my dentist the same thing and he said wrap them up in a towel and force clean them. I would rather have my child with healthy teeth. Now at 7 she has gorgeous teeth and cleans them herself

happygilmore Thu 07-Jul-11 19:01:52

Oh actually I'm lying, we used a milk teeth one tonight, but it's still minty so I definitely think a new type is worth a shot. I think we'll have to man up a bit and just do it everyday until she gets used to it or understands enough to do her own.

Teaandcakeplease Thu 07-Jul-11 19:07:53

I spent months allowing mine to chew the brush with a smear of toothpaste whilst I read them the bedtime story and then very quickly finishing their effort off (usually whilst holding them down blush) Both of mine now brush their teeth without any battles at all at 2 & 3 years old. I did go through a lot of tooth brushes though grin

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