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What the hell do you do with a toddler who won't let you brush his teeth?

(39 Posts)
dottytablecloth Sun 30-Nov-14 13:48:45

I have a host of other issues at the minute but I'm putting them down to him being unwell.

However for the last week or so he has point blank refused to let us brush his teeth, morning or evening.

His breath is smelly now and I feel like a crappy mum sad

He howls and screams to the point of making himself sick. He refuses to open his mouth and I really don't want to hurt him by forcing it open and even if I do it's hardly ideal.

I've tried four different kinds of toothbrushes, electric, normal, the one you out over your finger and a two sided brush.

What on earth am I going to do? I'm really worried about this and worried about tooth decay.

Finola1step Sun 30-Nov-14 13:52:00

You have to persevere I'm afraid. I found that sometimes lying them down, tickling to make them laugh and then going in quickly when mouth open was the only way.

Good luck.

MistAndAWeepingRain Sun 30-Nov-14 13:55:31

Get him a chewable toothbrush

I have one for my toddler and it's fan. Use with a smear of toothpaste and they can basically do it themselves. My DD had a check up last week and her teeth are great according to dentist.

ArchangelGallic Sun 30-Nov-14 13:56:24

would a reward chart work?

We had problems with our DD and in the end a flashing toothbrush did the trick.

MaxsMummy2012 Sun 30-Nov-14 14:00:20

You could try downloading the app called 'Disney Magic Timer by Oral B', it's free and you can use it with any brush. It times for 2 minutes and as the time ticks away a disney picture is revealed and at the end of the 2 mins you get fireworks and a sticker - I then give a physical sticker too. My toddler loves it and it makes brushing much easier. Good luck

MokunMokun Sun 30-Nov-14 14:00:46

I've used a cloth before.

One trick is to sit on the floor with your legs apart. Lie your toddler between your legs so their head is in your crotch and legs facing out. Then you pin an arm under each of your legs and just sort of go for it. It sounds really brutal but it works well.

HollyBen Sun 30-Nov-14 14:02:53

Sticker chart? DD wasn't quite as difficult over brushing but it got to the point where it could take 10-15 mins. We did a chart for a week and if she got a sticker in the morning and at night she got to choose a preagreed gift (around £5 in value). She got to help make the chart and choose a new toothbrush. We then did it for 2 weeks. She still has her moments but much better. Good luck

Mrsmorton Sun 30-Nov-14 14:05:47

You have to be brutal, it's genuinely one of those cases where you are preventing pain, infection, fear of the dentist etc by being harsh.

My heart sinks when I see children with abscesses and their parents say "he doesn't like having his teeth brushed" but the child is in agony and waiting for an appointment to have a tooth out under General anaesthe and all I can do is give yet another prescription.

sad you're having a tough time of it wine brew etc.

APlaceInTheWinter Sun 30-Nov-14 14:07:58

There's an Aquafresh tooth-brushing app that plays music and let's them choose clothes for a little toothpaste person. It also has a timer.

Another option that our dentist recommended was rubbing a little spot of toothpaste on their teeth when they're sleeping so the toothpaste can work on their teeth overnight.

Azquilith Sun 30-Nov-14 14:08:20

You've just got to do it I'm afraid. Start with just a few seconds and offer him the toothbrush at the end to do himself.

AuditAngel Sun 30-Nov-14 14:19:14

This might seem like a silly question, but what flavour toothpaste are you using? DD1 hated mint flavour when she was small, but would brush with fruit flavoured.

Jessicahyde85 Sun 30-Nov-14 14:20:26

I had a child who was very distressed about teeth brushing ( Asperger's) so I wrapped him in a towel ( straight jacket style) and did it.... Sounds bad but oh well! he is 8 now, brushes them fine no lasting psychological issues...

Fairywhitebear Sun 30-Nov-14 14:23:46

My just turned 2 yr old is also now refusing. All very well to pin her down, but she literally clamps her mouth firmly shut. No about of prising will get her to open it.

We use a flavoured toothpaste as I was thinking it was about her not liking mint (I had a phobia myself about this as a child)

So, how do you get them to open their mouths?!

ARGHtoAHHH Sun 30-Nov-14 14:28:44

In the same boat at the moment with 2 year old.

Stickers don't work. The apps don't work. Pinning down doesn't work (mouth clamped shut). Bribery doesn't work. Have tried different toothpastes and brushes.

I'm at a loss.

TimeForAnotherNameChange Sun 30-Nov-14 14:29:01

Wrap them in a towel to stop flailing arms, kneel (gently) with knees either side of their chest, and hold their nose closed - this forces them to open their mouth to breath, so you can get a quick once round done. The key is to be completely calm but absolutely non negotiable - it simply has to be done and there is an easy way and a hard way, and eventually they will come to realise that.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 30-Nov-14 14:36:48

One trick we use is saying that if DD(3) refuses to clean her teeth, there'll
be no sweet food the next day - so no apple juice (she has half a cup at breakfast but thinks it's a treat), no biscuits or anything else of that nature. We've only ever had to carry this out once, she still remembers it and knows the score.

yomellamoHelly Sun 30-Nov-14 14:37:01

Pinning between legs and no getting out of it here too. They do grow out of it.

capecath Sun 30-Nov-14 15:16:15

Would he do it if you let him do it himself? DS2 is Mr Independent right now and wants to give it a bash himself so rule is he does it then mommy does it. I do sometimes have to pin him down and open his mouth by holding cheeks which is not great but both my boys hate the dentist and thought of fillings is far worse.... And close us in the bathroom so that he doesn't run away or get distracted. DS1 was actually much worse with the brushing. Singing and making funny noises while brushing teeth helped him. Now at 4yo he is a great brusher and likes to brush at the same time as me. You could try letting him brush your teeth or helping put the toothpaste on?

dottytablecloth Sun 30-Nov-14 16:17:54

Thanks for all the responses. I actually have one of those baby brushes and he used it for a while but not just throws it down.

If I have to do it forcefully, won't he associate teeth brushing negatively? I totally get the point that it's better to force him to brush his teeth than have them pulled out though.

We are going through do many battles with him at the minute that it's just yet another thing to fight over. Don't get me started on his fussiness over food sad

Thanks again

capecath Sun 30-Nov-14 18:49:26

Nah. Certainly did not happen with DS1 - he loves brushing teeth now and we had to brush forcefully many times.... I did also try every other tactic under the sun first before having to be forceful!!

NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Sun 30-Nov-14 19:00:58

Do you ever brush your teeth with him? In the morning I give my DD her brush with a tiny smidge of toothpaste on it and she brushes (mainly sucks on it) while I do mine and then it's my turn and I have a good go at them. If you have time say you won't be doing anything else (bribe with a favourite tv programme or going to the park, whatever will be exciting and wanted) until teeth have been brushed, shut the bathroom door and sit on the loo calm and unfussed until they have let you have a brush at them. That's what I do anyway, it may or may not work!!

Pico2 Sun 30-Nov-14 19:16:39

We had to pin DD down and get on with it when she was that age. She's 4 now and fine about brushing her teeth. By all means pick your battles, but this is one I would definitely pick.

Rnb Sun 30-Nov-14 19:20:31

Type 'brush your teeth song' into YouTube. My son can't get enough of having his teeth brushed while watching this. He was a nightmare before

Gremlingirl Sun 30-Nov-14 19:21:06

Mirroring worked well when mine refused to have his teeth done. I gave him my toothbrush and asked him to do my teeth at the same time as I was doing his. They can't help opening their mouth if you're doing to same right in front of them. It's not the most pleasant experience, having your teeth (and lips and cheeks and tongue and so on) brushed by a toddler though.....

eatyourveg Sun 30-Nov-14 19:59:59

Firstly you are not a crappy Mum!

We had a contraption from the sen dentist which basically held ds2's mouth open while we brushed but we had to hold him down. She also gave us a triangle type brush which brushed all 3 sides at the same time

He really hated anything going near his mouth and it took years to de-sensitise his whole mouth area - hospitalised so many times due to not wanting to eat but not eating meant not chewing which meant that the gums were permanently swollen which meant that the teeth were very low set and the tongue wasn't very strong so it hung out and he dribbled

It really was hell for a while

BUT he's fine, eats normally, has a great set of teeth

Ask your health visitor for help if your ds is under 5 and go to see your own dentist and see if they can help

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