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Any advice for cleaning toddler's teeth?

(19 Posts)
curlygirl Tue 16-May-06 21:19:24

My 18 month old dd used to be so good at having her teeth cleaned but recently she has become very willful and independant (like most toddlers), and doesn't like having her teeth cleaned. She will happily play with the toothbrush as if she is cleaning them herself, but when we try to do it she struggles, screams and bites onto the toothbrush so that it is impossible to clean her teeth properly.We have tried giving her one toothbrush and using another to brush with, but it doesn't fool her. Any tricks we could try? I am worried that she is going to have decay.

supakids Tue 16-May-06 21:20:49

I tried a silly toothbrush battery operated that ds chose for himself. Seemed to like it. I also tried flashing light toothbrush.

Bellie Tue 16-May-06 21:21:47

We went through this with our 18month old too!! In fact it has only been the last couple of days that it has got better. DD is fiercely independent too and always wants her turn. DH struck on the idea of dd turn then daddys turn which seems to work for us - as long as the strict rotation is kept too and she is allowed her turn back!!

ComeOVeneer Tue 16-May-06 21:23:15

I wish they was a magic way for co-operation. I advised to try any trick you can think of, signing songs, hanging upside down, letting them do yours first, egg timers choosing a specila brush and paste, etc etc (others will post methods they try as well). The most inportant thing to remember is that although you can't control the brushing you can control the dite. So if you are concerned endeavour to provide the best food and drink in terms of dental health (remeber to check labels for hidden sugars).

PanicPants Tue 16-May-06 21:24:06

We have this problem with our 8mth ds. He opens his mouth to start with, but once the bottom 2 are done, he clamps up and starts shaking his head and crying. Won't let us near the top 4 teeth.

bourneville Tue 16-May-06 21:25:21

I remember this phase but i don't remember what i did sorry!! We still use 2 toothbrushes. I think I just continued to brush as well as i could (sometimes quite forcefully and eventually she gave up struggling.
Also i sing the Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush tune "this is the way we clean our teeth". I have always naturally sang a song for particular things - time to get out of the bath, cleaning teeth, brushing hair etc, i think it lightens the mood or something.

tbh i think dd just simply grew out of the phase so i can't be any more helpful sorry. It winds me up now that she spends most of the time chewing the brush when she is perfectly capable now of brushing!

dewmeadow Tue 16-May-06 21:28:08

I sing a song I made up called " Katherine is a good girl, x3, SHe's cleaning her teeth" and also tell her that if she's good she can use my special hand cream!

Recently she cleaned her Teddy's (with mine!!) while I cleaned hers.

Not much help - sorry! good luck

FrannytheGazelle Tue 16-May-06 21:33:48

When we hit the really resistant stage I am afraid we very kindly but very firmly pinned ds down every night and just forced him

It is the only time we have so deliberately removed his choice but something I read (on an Attachment Parenting site, I think) really stuck with me:

which is worse, for a child to be (kindly) held down to have their teeth brushed by mum and dad, or to suffer dental decay and have to be treated, probably in pain and fear, by a dentist who they have probably never seen before?

The crying stage did not last terribly long and ds never seemed upset afterwards, only during. I would do the same again rather than risk having to have dental work.

jenthehen Tue 16-May-06 21:38:03

We do a guided commentry about what we "find" in her teeth ie oh I can see a little bit of weetabix, quick a piece of carrot is stuck here etc, oh no is that a chocolate button - basically go through all the food they have eaten that day. It works for both of mine, especially if you manage to sneak in something that they've eaten when you weren't there, they seem to spend more time thinking about what they have eaten rather than the fact that you are cleaning their teeth.

FairyMum Tue 16-May-06 21:44:42

We also used Franny's method. Pinned down and force-brushed. The alternative is worse IMO. Once they got slightly older the toothbrush developed its own persoanlity and became a talking, singing, dancing toothbrush......

EmmyLou Tue 16-May-06 22:48:02

Friend of a friend, a widower with six children, holds their noses if cooperation is not forthcoming. Fair play.
I've been down the silly toothbrushes, three brushes(one for me, one for each of dd1's hands), silly songs, in unusual places etc routes. Latest one: dd3 wants to list (verbally, which kind of gets in the way) and for me to brush off, each of the foods she has had that day. Aggggh.

Tommy Tue 16-May-06 23:26:48

We have just got electric toothbrushes which seem to be going down well. Also, I use simple bribery "Oh, you won't want any chocolate tomorrow then if you don't want to clean your teeth?" - that usually works

dewmeadow Wed 17-May-06 09:00:18

I have also brushed by force.

The food list idea sounds good. Must try that

Bozza Wed 17-May-06 09:01:51

Panicpants - just wait until he is 2 and can run and has 20 teeth going all the way back. [evil grin emoticon]

CMac Wed 17-May-06 09:09:20

Had the same problem - dh finally succeeded in making it a game - "give me an aahhh"; "give me an Eeee"; "give me an Oohhh" etc etc. Seems to have done the trick, though she was closer to 2 by then...

melrose Wed 17-May-06 09:09:41

My nearly 2 DS had never been good at letting us brush his teeth until last month, when an exasperated Daddy said "Let Daddy tickle your teeth" and he opened his mouth obligingly and provided it is accompanied by "tickle tickle" will quite happily let us do it now! (although often wants a go himself first). Also rewarded him with a sticky star on his pyjama top which he loved. Good Luck!

IamBlossom Wed 17-May-06 12:55:05

My DS is resistant now to using his own toothbrush and letting me use it on him. But he was fascinated by me or DH cleaning OUR teeth with our own brushes. So now he sits quietly on the loo and watches us then I use my brush to clean his teeth (with children's toothpaste - que aghast health fanatics that we share brushes) and he sits as good as gold and opens his mouth and lets me brush all the way round. His reward is me picking him up and turning him sideways so he gets to put his mouth under the running water to rinse, which he thinks is FABULOUS! So now it's a fun experience, that we both enjoy!


Papillon Wed 17-May-06 13:08:13

We pin em down too. In fact dd request to lie down, she knows I am not hurting her and likes to have her top teeth brushed that way!

I make my mouth into different shapes to encourage her to open her mouth and how to hold her mouth when the teeth are being brushed.

It is like a routine that I have set with her and now she only lets me brush the teeth!

curlygirl Wed 17-May-06 22:26:11

thanks everyone for the advice. I too have resorted to pinning down but worry that it will have a negative effect longterm. I reaaly don't want her to dread cleaning her teeth. I will definitely try some suggestede ideas.

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