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Why is my son so addicted to his toothbrush and toothpaste?

(12 Posts)
Bluebella Tue 28-Jul-09 11:35:04

Hi all,

My son is 15 months old. He absolutely obsessed with holding his toothbrush and attempting to brush his teeth. I think he just sucks the tooth brush though.

As soon as he goes into the bathroom, he reaches up to the sink, and winges, he can't really say many words so he just holds his arms up and starts to 'ask' for the toothbrush, if I don't give it to him, he turns into a loud cry / scream.

He doens't JUST want the tooth brush, he wants to hold the tooth paste tube as well. Once I've given it to him he holds them out to me, as if to say 'squeeze some toothpaste onto my tooth brush!'. SO I do, and he is happy to 'brush his teeth' but soon after he is handing me the items again, as if to ask me to put more toothpaste on. He absolutely LOVES it....

He doesn't just like holding the tooth brush, he always has to have the toothpaste tube as well in the other hand.... It's so weird!!

He gets upset when I try to brush them myself, he also gets upset when I take the items away from him, and tell him, thats enough. He breaks down in tears, and then collapsed on the floor head down, like a praying position, in a right old state.

How do you think I should handle this situation? Keep letting him hold the toothpaste/brush while we're upstairs and getting ready? I worry that he is eating the tooth paste. I only ever put a small smear on though.


shonaspurtle Tue 28-Jul-09 11:46:31

Oh ds is like this too - not so much now that he's a bit older (2.8). I think it's a combination of things:

1) He likes the taste of the toothpaste. Ds would eat it if I let him.

2) Doing grown up things like brushing his teeth himself/brushing his teeth like mummy & daddy

Ds likes to play at brushing his teeth so I put a little bit of water on the toothbrush for him. It's not good to have too much toothpaste so I don't let him have the tube or any actual toothpaste unless he's actually getting his teeth brushed in the morning/evening.

I tried something I read on here about pretending to look for animals in his mouth to make him more cooperative about teeth brushing and it worked like a dream eg "open wide ds, can I see a giraffe/lion/dolphin in there?" grin

Bluebella Tue 28-Jul-09 11:54:14

Thank you for replying :-)

He screams if I don't give him the tooth paste tube as well. Shall I just refuse to give it to him from now on?

shonaspurtle Tue 28-Jul-09 12:03:19

If he's going to open it and try to eat the toothpaste then I wouldn't. It's really not good for them to get too much fluoride.

Maybe you could give him something else to pretend he's putting toothpaste on, like a long building block or something? Can't remember what age ds started imaginative play.

It may be easier just to put them out of his sight for now so the temptation/reminder isn't there.

shonaspurtle Tue 28-Jul-09 12:05:04

"Pretend" toothpaste depends also on whether it's the action or the taste he likes. Ds wouldn't be very impressed if I gave him a brick and told him it was a biscuit grin although this works well when he wants to play at baking..

Bluebella Tue 28-Jul-09 13:07:19

He doesn't put the tooth paste tube in his mouth, he just likes to hold it... but he keeps holding them up to me, and squeaking for me to put some more toothpaste on the tooth brush!!!

Ewe Tue 28-Jul-09 13:17:47

My DD is like this, she sometimes takes her toothbrush to bed! Hoping it is just a phase

longingforsleep Tue 28-Jul-09 13:35:56

My DS2 is exactly the same. His latest trick is to try to steal his older brother's toothbrush, which has a sucker on the bottom. Much flasher than his!

bondgirl77 Tue 28-Jul-09 17:13:51

Hi Bluebella, my DS is exactly the same. In fact I shut the bathroom door as much as possible because if he looks in and sees the toothpaste he demands it. I think if they are teething then it is also really a nice thing to have to chew on, plus the taste is nice. Have you tried buying a second toothbrush and then whilst he is holding his, trying to persuade him to open his mouth, making it fun or making him laugh so that his mouth opens? We sing 'this is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth, this is the way we brush our teeth on a *insert current weather* morning/evening'. Think also at that age routine becomes quite important, maybe try telling him that it's time to brush the teeth, then sitting him in the same place, then give him him the toothbrush, toothpaste to hold whilst you do the song or distraction, then say 'ok, we've brushed our teeth, now say bye, bye toothbrush, bye bye bathroom' then shut the door and quickly distract 'oh look, there's your digger/toy/book'. And lots of OTT praise as soon as he does anything good like opens his mouth or lets you brush the teeth. As soon as tantrums start think you need to start being firm and following through with what you say and they then get used to the fact that this is what is going to happen and when. If he knows you are telling him off/don't want him to do it, he will do it even more, so best to let him hold it if he wants. If that technique doesn't work maybe you could try ignoring the fact that he is holding the toothpaste completely, don't even mention it, then eventually as toddlers do he will get distracted by something else and drop them, and you can whip them away, perhaps gradually he will then lose a bit of interest in them knowing it doesn't have any effect on you/get him attention.

GoldenSnitch Tue 28-Jul-09 17:25:32

We did the 2 brush trick. One for him and one for me. His brush got chewed and ruined and mine stayed OK for brushing. (Only mine got the paste though ever since I heard you can get flouride poisoning from too much toothpaste) DS got something to hold and it kept him distracted while I got his teeth clean. Did it for about a year until the toothbrush obsession finished and now DS is back to one brush at 2.5.

imaginewittynamehere Tue 28-Jul-09 17:36:06

A trip to the dentist in combination with the Peppa pig dentist episode worked for me. All I have to say now to dd1 is "what would the dentist say?" & she opens her mouth & patiently lets me brush them all.

Let me know if you solve the toothbrush/paste addiction though, dd1's is still going strong at 2.10, so much so that I have flouride free toothpaste for her to brush her own teeth with.

EffiePerine Tue 28-Jul-09 17:39:43

DS1 was like this, I just gave him a teeny amount of toothpaste each time and made sure we had the low-flouride stuff. He'll now let me 'finish off' his teeth (at 2.9) but this is quite a recent development! Before, he'd just chew the toothbrush but I seem to remember this is pretty good for getting the teeth clean so I let him get on with it.

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