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Brushing my toddler's teeth

(22 Posts)
user1473193597 Wed 19-Oct-16 20:17:59

We are really struggling to brush my 19 month old's teeth and I'm getting a bit worried about it. It was easier when he was younger, we use the brush baby sonic which is battery powered and glows, and he was quite fascinated with it. Now he just won't have it. He'll run away, press his lips together and shake his head. I don't want to force the brush into his mouth. If I hand him the brush and brush my teeth at the same time to show him, he sometimes puts it in his mouth but he won't brush properly. Usually he'll just lick the toothpaste off and then throw the tooth brush away. Does anyone have advice on what else we can try? Is this just something that I need to be worried about, i.e. will it affect his teeth? He has a healthy diet and I don't give him any sweets unless it's a special occasion but he eats quite a lot of fruit... He drinks only water and milk.

Dixiechick17 Wed 19-Oct-16 20:24:19

We don't have much luck either, recently we've been making a bigger deal of it, following listening to what a friend did with her DD. I drag a chair into the bathroom so that she can stand at the tap, and we both put the brush under the water, pretend to put toothpaste on (pretend as she wants to do it every two seconds) praise when she brushes and in between she will let us brush her teeth for her for a few seconds, it can take around ten mins but for us has been so much better than before. Then she washes her hands, dries them and knows then that brushing is done for the night.

HonkHonkNose Wed 19-Oct-16 20:28:03

We bribe our toddler with 5 mins of Peppa Pig on the phone if she'll let us brush her teeth.

Harsh as I fucking hate Peppa Pig, and also I never thought I'd be the kind of parent who'd bribe her kid to get something done!

sycamore54321 Wed 19-Oct-16 21:03:21

I give our 2-year old my brush and let him 'tickle my teeth' while I do his. He can be fairly violent with it but at least it gets me time to do his a little. Then I pop on some more toothpaste and give him his own brush to chomp away on.

If your child has a cartoon character or toy she likes, I can virtually guarantee there will be a You Tube video of that character singing a toothbrush song. We use an Elmo one which helps as well.

For diet, the main thing in protecting the teeth is trying to limit the frequency of intake rather than the level of sugar consumed. So try to reduce snacking and keep meals as a single sitting rather than a bit now and a nibble later and another handful of raisins an hour later. Obviously within reason as toddlers are unpredictable and need feeding when hungry but it is something to aim for. Constant snacking or constant sipping on juice or even milk gives prolonged exposure of sugar to the teeth and does not allow them the chance to recover. Also make sure you use fluoridated toothpaste.

Believeitornot Wed 19-Oct-16 21:05:25

We used to sing songs when brushing or get cross or use this chew brush

hazeyjane Wed 19-Oct-16 21:09:20

I used to wrap in a towel and just do it. It was easier to do if lying with head a little back.

Laquila Wed 19-Oct-16 21:11:22

The Aquafresh Brushtime app has changed my life. Might. It work so well for a 19-month old but at least you have it to look forward to!!

crayfish Wed 19-Oct-16 21:15:15

Mine is only 15 months but I literally pin him down to do it, it's dreadful but tooth-brushing is non-negotiable in my house. I'm hoping it gets easier but no amount of YouTube or bribes has any effect.

My friend is a dentist and I asked her for tips, 'brute force' was the main one... sad

TheWrathFromHighAtopTheThing Wed 19-Oct-16 21:16:22

I always just went for pin them down and use brute force.

It's still better than filings.

Newlywed56 Wed 19-Oct-16 21:20:02

We got this like silicone shape toothbrush thing out of boots for 17month old, has been a game changer for us as she screamed and clamped her mouth when we tried to brush our teeth. It has Wee silicone bristles that you put a drop on toothpaste on and then she chews it for about 3 minutes. I'm sure it's doing more than we were managing to do anyway confused

UnoriginalNN Wed 19-Oct-16 21:23:38

It's a two person job in our house. Dd is particularly difficult, sometimes it's fine and one of us can manage it alone. Other times it's actually easier if she's crying (as bad as that sounds) because I can get to all of her teeth. It's important and I won't compromise anymore. I am a nice parent, honest!

AppleJac Wed 19-Oct-16 21:40:08

My daughter used to be a nightmare. Shes 4 now and great at letting me brush her teeth.

I lie her down on her bed and sit next to her. I set the tooth timer and use a oral b electric toothbrush. Its much easier to do it if they are lying down as you can see the back teeth very easily.

sycamore54321 Wed 19-Oct-16 21:55:35

And luckily mine is a screamer rather than clamping mouth shut so that makes it easier on the non-cooperative days. I forgot to add we also regularly brush Teddy's teeth too to make it as familiar and normal as possible.

crayfish Wed 19-Oct-16 22:07:02

Yes it is unfortunate but easier when DS screams his head off because at least I can get the toothbrush in his mouth!

katienana Wed 19-Oct-16 22:12:44

Telling ds about sugar bugs doing wees and poos in his mouth helped and showing pictures of rotten teeth! We also held him when needed. I.used to.make.up funny versions of songs like old mc Donald had a poo which he found hilarious, only ever sung when doing teeth.
He's fine getting it done now.

user1473193597 Thu 20-Oct-16 19:55:10

Thanks for the comments. Not sure it would be safe to use brute force with my little one. Forcing the tooth brush into his mouth would most likely result in him getting hurt, if it's even possible. But I will try some of the other things suggested on here. :-)

Eminybob Thu 20-Oct-16 20:03:46

Generally DS (2) is thankfully fine with having his teeth done, but if he's being stroppy and deciding he doesn't want to for whatever reason it is literally a (gentle) headlock forcible job.

Tooth brushing is non negotiable. I have a friend who's DS won't have his teeth done and she doesn't force it and he has plaque build up already at age 3.

Eminybob Thu 20-Oct-16 20:05:57

Ps I have never hurt or traumatised DS by brushing his teeth, no matter how much he had protested!

polkadotdelight Thu 20-Oct-16 20:09:57

DS is much better at tolerating it now but in the past DH tickles and I brushed quickly!

hazeyjane Thu 20-Oct-16 20:11:59

I think when posters say 'brute force' it makes it sound more like a form of torture, but I don't think they mean they are actually brutal - just that it is non negotiable, like getting a child in a car seat, it just has to happen!

Ds having to have 4 teeth out under general anaesthetic, at the age of 4, was far more distressing than the tooth brushing. (He has no enamel on his back teeth and severe reflux due to a genetic condition)

user1473193597 Thu 20-Oct-16 20:54:57

Well, if you gently head lock him and he'll open his mouth for you, I'm sure that's fine, but it gets tricky when my DS literally will not open his mouth. It's impossible for me to force his mouth open and stick a tooth brush in, and like I said, I don't want to hurt him. It's not like that all the time. We have good days when he will let me do it but on other days he won't let me at all. We keep trying every single morning and evening and hope for the best.

hazeyjane Thu 20-Oct-16 21:14:00

Its difficult to explain the exact technique (without diagrams!), but the special needs dentist showed us the best way to clean his teeth when he was so reluctant (he has sensory issues) - maybe your dentist could help show you a good way.

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