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Toddler ToothBrushing Nightmares

(18 Posts)
IntelligentPutty Wed 21-Oct-15 08:21:22

I am at my wits end.
When my daughter was small (she is now 19 Months old) and not many teeth (i.e. less than 1 year) I tried brushing once or twice, and she would not have it, so instead i let her play with the toothbrush. On visiting dentist, he stated that I should brush her teeth, I tried but was soon put off, so I bought a silicon brush which I hoped she would do a better job with.. But recently I feel I do need to brush her teeth for her, to get right to the back etc..
I tried the last couple of nights and it is too the extent where I have to hold her down on the bed, and even then she is writhing and struggling that I may as well not bother for the torture I am putting her through and the short few seconds I might be lucky enough to try at a tooth.. I at one point tried the hunt for the animal in the mouth but she would not open up, we talked about the monkey in her mouth etc.. and she was saying monkey / lion etc... so engaging, but did not let me in to actually brush anything..
Generally we feed her good food, all the food groups. occasionally she has some chocolate cake or a cake of some description, but never had sweets (yet) ...
I really don;t know how to tackle it, I certainly do not want to torture her every night!!
Any input ideas/experiences gratefully received.


Littlef00t Wed 21-Oct-15 11:57:36

We've really struggled too. In the end I made it a rule she couldn't have a story before bed til she'd let me brush her teeth. Didn't force her but wouldn't move on.

I would start with her letting you touch her lips with the toothbrush, then a molar or two, and gradually move on to more of the teeth.

IntelligentPutty Wed 21-Oct-15 12:14:45

What do you mean by wouldn't move on?
if she refuses then no story at all?

Snossidge Wed 21-Oct-15 12:17:24

I have always just insisted on it, it's a non-negotiable like wearing a seatbelt. Teeth get brushed, twice a day, no exceptions.

Qwertybynature Wed 21-Oct-15 12:20:55

I had the same problem with my ds (2). Distraction worked best for us. I usually lay him down and let him play with something while I brush his teeth. At the moment he likes watching steam trains on you tube on my phone, or playing with the thermometer. Not ideal but I can brush his teeth with hardly any fuss.

Mundelfall Wed 21-Oct-15 12:21:06

I'm with snossidge, no negotiation, no games. This is one area (like seatbelts or running into the road) where you simply cannot negotiate. My two knew I meant business and stopped putting up a fight after a few days.

Qwertybynature Wed 21-Oct-15 12:22:56

Just a thought but is she teething? Ds used to fuss more fire new teeth came through.

Qwertybynature Wed 21-Oct-15 12:23:51

*fire = when confused

Sanchar Wed 21-Oct-15 12:26:05

Mine were forced too. Even at 5 and 7 it's still like trying to brush a dogs teeth.

And, knowing MN as well as I do: yes I do have to brush my kids teeth, if I didn't it wouldn't get done, ever. I care not that your child has been brushing their own teeth since they were in the womb.

ObiWanCannoli Wed 21-Oct-15 12:36:27

Three things worked with us and for our 4 dc singing ah and ee. Ah so I could get at the back and ee so I could get the front ones. Pretending to clean the bath toys teeth and telling them well done and then doing dcs teeth and then another bath toy and so on until I ran out of bath toys. Being very blunt and saying no malted milks or raisins unless he brushed his teeth as they need looking after.

Those are my only tips as everything else for me failed.

nuttybananas Wed 21-Oct-15 12:44:55

We did a lot of role play and reading peppa pig book about a dentist trip. Also using the element of surprise to shove the toothbrush in while she was engrossed in something else. There were several months where it was hell - but now we are out the other side and she knows its a non negotiable part of bed time. Some days it may still just be a quick rummage to get toothpaste on the teeth but more often than not we can now have some proper teeth brushing. So hang in there and it will get better. can you get dentist, family and friends to reinforce how much they do it also so she wants go have nice pearly whites. ours gets very excited about the idea of the tooth fairy so we also say that she will only come for nice clean teeth when the time comes...

IntelligentPutty Wed 21-Oct-15 14:02:05

Ah so easy to say it is non negotiable, I am saying this now but its hard when she is screaming and sobbing. I don;t want to scare her off it, but I agree its very important...
Will try a few of the suggestions and see how it goes over the coming weeks..
I suppose just persist, doing one more at a time until hopefully we can get to a point when she will be on the other side..

She is teething so I suppose that is a factor in her resistance, but feel I should not stop.. I am erring away a little from the distraction as I want her to buy into it and NOT be shocked...

Snossidge Wed 21-Oct-15 14:13:22

If she's screaming and sobbing then just do it quickly while her mouth is open to scream. Better to have your teeth brushed when you don't want to as a toddler than have 8 out under general anaesthetic as I have seen happen to several under 5s.

mrsmugoo Wed 21-Oct-15 14:27:21

I have a 19 month old and its non negotiable - every night I have to put him practically in a headlock and force him to let me brush. I thought he'd stop resisting and let me do it eventually but he still puts up a fight.

He lets my husband brush his teeth beautifully though (little sod!) so whenever my DH is home, I send in the cavalry.

There's no magic wand but I'm not having a child with rotten teeth - simple!

PinkParsnips Wed 21-Oct-15 14:46:07

I am at my wits end with DD ( 22 months) as well. I do try to brush while she screams and her mouth is open but she has quite a severe lip tip which causes pain and bleeds so it feels horrible doing it that way and she shakes her head so vigorously it's still very difficult.

The only things that have worked to any extent for us are laying her on the floor in front of her fave programme that worked for a good few weeks (no longer)

Recently we got her a reward chart and although she doesn't understand the reward part she does get that she gets a sticker each time she has her teeth done. I give her a brush in each hand (so she can't prise brush from my hand!) and then hold her up in the mirror, do a little brush and then do a silly dance which makes her laugh, then say right another brush, then a silly dance, another brush etc...still not great but it's an improvement and she does let me in for a millisecond each time now!

IntelligentPutty Fri 23-Oct-15 07:17:40

Well the last two nights were a nightmare.
Wednesday I persisted for 30 mins.
Started in the bathroom. Just chatting a singing and brushing my teeth. Tried to get dd to brush my teeth so I could do hers. Very soon lost interest.
Tried distraction. TV, elmo toothbrush brushy song. Thomas the Tank engine. No good.
Lips pursed. Shaking head.
What do I do. Prize her lips open and hold her jaw!

Thursday I bought a baby electric toothbrush. Still no good. Runs or turns away. Tried bridging toys teeth first. Singing again. Husband tried.
He now reckons I should stop as she is too young and we will breed a hate / fear of it,...
I have a silicon brush too. So ended up giving her that tonight.
No idea what I will do tonight. sad

DH does the mornings (already at "work" now) so he will just let her brush her own...

holeinmyheart Fri 23-Oct-15 08:10:17

We did the following.
Staying calm at all times ( despite the feeling of throttling overcoming us)
Electric toothbrush that they hold them selves 50/50
No story or anything else until teeth are done
Give them a choice, either we do it or they do it, but it is going to be done.
No sweet things during the day unless they brush their teeth.
An egg timer in the bathroom so that they know how long to do it for.

IntelligentPutty Thu 04-Feb-16 07:24:13

Thought an update was in order. We are now a fe months on from last post. Little Z is 2 in a month..
After xmas the SIL suggested letting Z brush something else (like a doll) while I did hers. We used the bathroom duck.. It was successful for about a week, then she got bored!
Now we search for the animals and I get them with the toothbrush. Now she is talking pretty well (for her age) and she tells me which animals are there.. Its working well at the moment. Long may it continue!!! ;-)

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