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calling mumsnet dentists - please help!

22 replies

bossykate · 12/06/2003 19:29

my ds (stands for "devil spawn" today and not the usual!) is very reluctant to have his teeth brushed. have combed the threads here before and have tried most of the tips (e.g. he has his own toothbrush to use while i have one, he now has an actibrush electric one to liven things up a bit).

While we have had temporary success with these measures, for the last week he is totally refusing to open his mouth to let me brush his teeth. i feel i am assaulting him if i try to force the toothbrush in, so the last three days i have just let him go to bed with his teeth unbrushed.

i would be so grateful if you could please

(a) suggest some more tips that might help persuade him, and

(b) let me know how bad this is for a 23m old who does not have a lot of sugar in his diet.

i would be ASHAMED for a child of mine to have fillings in their milk teeth... but OTOH manhandling him into tooth-brushing seems so utterly, utterly awful.

i'd be so grateful for some advice.

thanks in advance.

OP posts:
whymummy · 12/06/2003 19:40

hi bossykate youre worrying too much!ive got a friend whos a dentist nurse and she brushes her dds teeth morning and night but she still needed three fillings,ive got a friend whos girls never brush their teeth and have no cavities,mine brush their teeth and so far so good,does your ds eat apples?ive heard that its as good as brushing your teeth,you could try this till he forgets about the toothbrush and then give him his toothbrush back in a couple of weeks

windmill · 12/06/2003 19:48

I can't really give any advice, luckily mine loves having his teeth cleaned but I started the day he cut his first one to get him to used to it. However I know loads of parents who never introduced their children to toothbrushing until they were 8 or 9 and they had noi problems. Just take your child for regular checks with the dentist and keep to the healthy diet and like Whymummy suggested, give apples and also cheese is good

janh · 12/06/2003 20:14

Also, bk, if you can get him to have a drink of water (or better still rinse and spit) before bed that would help too. (Apples are good, but still have fruit sugars in.) If he eats v little sugar in general, and your family has strong teeth, he should be OK until he does feel like co-operating!

Could he manage Orbit (sugar-free) chewing gum under close supervision?

Agree that you don't want to get into physical force. Just let it go for a while. (Anyway some kids get cavities in their milk teeth even when brushed twice a day - just one of those things - no need to beat yourself up about it!)

bossykate · 12/06/2003 21:41

thank you, ladies.

it has not been a good day today all round. e.g. dinner not eaten just thrown all around the spotless kitchen - cleaner came today - i cave in and offer a fish finger, half of which is eaten, the other half lobbed across the table and a direct hit into my cup of tea!

apples, cheese, water - excellent ideas. i will try them.

i think he may be teething atm, which could of course explain his behaviour.

you're probably right, it may well be best to just let it go for a few days rather than making it a battleground.

i have been brushing his teeth since the first two appeared at 6m, but this has failed to make him a happy toothbrusher now in the same way my efforts to provide a wide and varied diet have failed to prevent him becoming a picky eater!

my parents were victims of unenlightened dentistry in their childhoods, so good dental hygiene, regular dentist visits etc. were a bit of a "thing" in our house growing up. i don't have any fillings to this day. so perhaps i am disproportionately anxious about this whole area now.

thanks again for your kind messages

OP posts:
ks · 12/06/2003 21:47

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jasper · 13/06/2003 00:54

My three are holey nightmares when it comes to toothbrushing and I usually resort to getting them in a headlock to get the deed done. Talk about tears before bedtime.

I view it as much the same as cramming them into their car seats, something else they all hate but I feel is worth the "assault factor" for their greater good

I have noticed they hate it more when they have teeth just starting to poke through the gum so I cut them some slack at these times. My eldest has been fine since about 2 1/2 but I don't know if that's because all his teeth were finally through or if it was just because he was at last acquiring a modicum of sense.

Remember, good brushing alone won't guarantee no decay, it's what they eat and drink that really matters.
Try to keep the frequency of sugary snacks/drinks to a minimum. A biscuit or sweet eaten at mealtimes, preferably followed by a bit of cheese ( to neutralise mouth acids) will do less damage than a biscuit half chewed midmorning and returned to several times in the day for another bite!
Don't let him have free access to juice in a cup he sips off and on throughout the day.

There is an element of luck involved as to whether your child gets decay; everyone has a mix of bacteria in their mouth . Some bugs cause decay more readily than others.Your tendancy to decay is partly down to whatever "mix" you have in your mouth.(Xylitol helps by making the bad bacteria less likely to cause decay. )
This does not mean you are a helpless victim of your mouth bacteria, it's just that explains why some people eat rubbish , don't brush their teeth but have little or no decay.( they are very rare and usually have hideous gum disease) Also rare but they do exist are individuals who have good oral hygiene and very good diets with hardly any sugar but still get decay.
IME nature is pretty fair - eat well, clean well and you are very unlikely to get decay.

Like you I do find the whole brushing thing a trial, far worse than, say, changing a smelly nappy on a wriggly nappy

Britabroad · 13/06/2003 04:47

I had same problem but Ds now loves cleaning teeth with racing car shaped electric toothbrush from Sainsburys.

Batters · 13/06/2003 08:54

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WideWebWitch · 13/06/2003 09:26

Bk, sympathies. I have a friend who gets her kids into an armlock and forces the toothbrush in, like Jasper but I have to say it's not pleasant to watch and I couldn't do it, just because ds was so strong at that age that he'd have probably managed to kick my teeth in! Now, somewhere there was a discussion about ways to get them to like their teeth being done so I'll see if I can find it for you. I agree with whoever says your own attitude largely stems from your childhood teeth experience - armlock friend had loads of fillings as a child whereas I have never needed one so feel able to be more laid back about it. And my lack of fillings can't be down to brilliant oral hygiene as a child for sure but I was fed healthily. OK, found the thread and there are some ideas, here . Good luck.

grommit · 13/06/2003 10:16

I showed dd my fillings (because I did not brush my teeth when I was younger) and now she is so worried about getting "metal teeth" she lets me brush morning and night! Poor child will probably have nightmares...

Marina · 13/06/2003 10:33

bk, sympathies. My parents knew of people who had all their (inferior) natural teeth pulled in adolescence in favour of (long-lasting, "nicer-looking" ) false teeth, so they too were maniacal dentist visitors as we were growing up and I still only have one filling in my adult teeth thanks to their vigilance and insistence.
I think Batters' tip about involving your ds is a great one - ours is allowed to choose toothbrushes and toothpaste now, and for once I could kiss Disney for the line in Monsters Inc: "scary monsters don't have plaque". We do have a son who throws himself about histrionically if his toenails need cutting etc, so I know how hateful getting your child to cooperate is, but I think if you can persevere with regular brushing (even a token effort) night and morning, it becomes part of the routine. Ds has some orange vitamin syrup he adores before bedtime, and he knows he only gets this if we give his teeth a good clean afterwards. That has helped during the patches where he wasn't too happy.

Boe · 13/06/2003 12:23

Head locks and tickles work with my daughter!!

bossykate · 13/06/2003 17:26

thanks for these additional comments. i could have cheerfully returned him to the shop yesterday! i think many of us mothers should get academy awards for pretending great calm in the face of b**y irritating shenanigans, while inwardly seething "it's for your own good, you little bleeder!"...

thanks again

OP posts:
Hilary · 15/06/2003 09:34

Neither of my two liked having it done but I got round it by saying 'what have you got in your mouth today?' Then I brush the bottom left and say, for instance 'red power ranger' I brush the bottom right and go, 'spiderman', top left and say 'daddy' and top right and say 'bicycle' then ask them to say 'eeee' so I can brush the fronts and say, 'sandpit' All the time making a big fuss about how they have got all that lot in their mouth. Then I do the same for ds2 with all the things he likes best.

I started this ridiculous game in desperation but they love it now and I get two very wide mouths each time, wanting to be told what they've got in them! I get to clean their teeth very well. I can't believe the turnaround. I used to have to headlock them both and I hated it - what a horrible end to the day!

bunny2 · 15/06/2003 20:59

I get dh to do it. For some reason, ds lets his dad brush his teeth but not me. I dont mind, it's one less battle with a stroppy 3 year old.

Chelle · 16/06/2003 02:20

We have a special toothbrushing song as ds would never let me near him with a toothbrush as a 2 year old! We still do the song but at 4 years old he is happy to do his teeth twice a day. I brush them at night and he does them in the mornings. We don't panic if we miss a day or two occasionally, though.

Furball · 16/06/2003 08:17

Just to take this thread on a bit of a tangent! Someone here - maybe Jasper or RobinW? recommended using a toothpaste with xylitol in. The only kiddies one I can find is a boots one which is from age 6-12. My DS is 22 months what do I do?

sis · 16/06/2003 12:03

Bk, have you got a friendly dentist? if so you could take your ds for a 'check-up' and prime the denist to talk to your ds about how he must clean his teeth etc and then keep talking to your ds about what the lovely dentist is going to say about his lovely brushed teeth etc.. Personally, I found this worked really well when his denist was a pretty woman!

Also,going back to a classic episode of 'Wife Swap' - is it worth getting a tiny egg timer ti time the brushing? HTH

dizzymummy · 17/06/2003 21:17

Does he have a favorite teddybear? - I got my dd to brush her dolly's teeth and while she does this I manage to brush hers as she is distracted. May be worth a try cos I know how difficult it is trying to prize a littlies mouth open!

bossykate · 17/06/2003 23:12

hi everyone

well, one of the best bits of advice i have got since becoming a mother has come from my own mother. specifically, "don't worry about your worry because next week you will have a new worry". clearly words to live by with the three of us!

anyway, the few days break seems to have done the trick as the night before last tooth-brushing was greeted with the words "mmm - delicious - brush the teeth".

however, this too is probably only a phase, so i'm very grateful for these comments and now have a few strategies in the back pocket so to speak for when he goes off the idea again!

thanks again

OP posts:
robinw · 19/06/2003 06:58

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robinw · 19/06/2003 07:02

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