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Do you make your child brush their teeth?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I'm picky about this and do make an issue of it and kind of force it, though in a playful parenting way. But my kid just got a cavity anyway. I'm bummed.

I'm going to start forcing flossing too. I've let that slide but I don't want any more cavities.

Do you force this issue, and how? I think I might be lucky that being playful about it has always worked in my house.
post #2 of 31

I do make an issue of it once a day.  I encourage them to brush mornings, but don't press it unless we are going somewhere visiting (we homeschool).  My youngest is terrible, and I end up brushing her teeth for her because it can get pretty bad in there.  She has inklings of taking an interest in keeping them clean (thank you girl scouts) but we are still working that out.  Yes, I get pretty grumpy if they fight me on the teeth thing, but we've been doing this so long I think they remember no other fights about this.  Our struggle at bedtime is simply that they need to be busy doing bedtime chores if they stay up as late as they do--not playing. 


I'm not really sure how you would "make" or "force" a defiant child to brush, short of holding them down!  Most kids usually relent with milder tactics, some I imagine just go along with things because that's what they've always done, but I've had enough struggles with this to know that it does not always lead to compliance doing it that way.


We haven't really had any trouble with cavities.  My oldest brushes once a day with salt water for heaven's sake, and has never had a filling of any sort--ever.  Even dd2 with her abysmal habits still has done just fine on the cavity front--though her gums are more tender than they should be.  I don't think that brushing/flossing habits are always connected to dental woes, unfortunately, and it's hard to figure out why some kids do fine with less diligence and other get cavities with excellent habits.

post #3 of 31
I do "make" them brush twice a day, but luckily they don't resist, so it hasn't been much of an issue. When they were around 3, each of them went through a phase where they resisted a bit, but we were just matter of fact and kept it as a firm expectation.

My DS has had a cavity too -- it's such a bummer! We've encouraged regular flossing since then, but he probably only flosses 3-4 times a week, not every day.
post #4 of 31

Remember that cavaties have as much to do with genetics as they do with taking care of your teeth, if not more.


I always had impecable teeth care since I was a small kid (so Im told). I have a mouth full of cavaties.(both my parents do as well) My husband has always had terrible teeth care IMO Brushes once a day (yuck) and flosses occasionally and is 37 years old and has NEVER had a cavity. Just do the best you can with it, but don;t let it become a source of contention. JMHO

post #5 of 31

Yes because breathe!  dental hygiene is a good practice.  I also make them wipe their butts and wash their hands.

post #6 of 31
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Yes because breathe!  dental hygiene is a good practice.  I also make them wipe their butts and wash their hands.
As a retired dental hygienist you totally cracked me up!!! Awesome!
post #7 of 31

For some reason, though, kids I know don't protest those nearly so vehemently as teeth brushing.  Longer process?  More invasive?  Consequences that are farther off?  When kids don't wipe, their butts get stinky and often itchy and uncomfortable.  A cold can be blamed on forgetting or refusing to wash hands after an indoor playground visit.  Cavities?  Consequences for adult teeth?  Oh, please, that's, like, a bazillion years in the future!

post #8 of 31
My DD has weak enamel in her six year molars and a fear of dental procedures which makes surgery the only way to fix cavities so I do "make" her brush.
post #9 of 31
There are things in our house that are non negotiable. Changing diaper, washing hands before and after we eat, brushing teeth are on that list. My dd is 2 1/2 when she asks why we brush I tell her so we don't have stinky breath and so the sugar germs don't eat away our teeth. When she gets older I plan to explain the bacterial and pH reasons which I think she will love to learn about with some activities. But for now the germ reason seems to work. If she is tired she sometimes protests. We are consistent, we ask her do you want the easy way or the hard way. Easy way is she stands on her stool at the sink and we clean her up. Hard way lay her on the bed and hold her down to do it. Very rarely we go the hard way. But as parents we remind ourselves we are establishing how important it is to have good hygiene. Also it's very expensive to have dental or any kind of medical procedure done. Even myself some nights I am like oh I am too tired to floss. Then I think well how many cavities can I afford? That's my motivation. And yes cavities still can happen even with the most diligent home care due to bacteria but you gotta at least try.
post #10 of 31
For those comparing methods and effectiveness, keep in mind that cavities are about which bacteria have colonized the mouth and genetics far more definitively than habits.

I've brushed twice a day and flossed often enough as long as I can remember and still have a cavity or two every few years. My husband, when I met him, once admitted to me that he'd never flossed and when alone, brushed once a day and often skipped days and has NEVER had a cavity. Lucky bastard.

I keep it up anyway because the in the moment benefits of fresh breath and feeling a clean mouth are important too. And yes, my good habits have rubbed off an my DH so hopefully our kids get his tooth genes and my habits!
post #11 of 31

I've ended up with a lot of cavities despite growing up with good dental hygiene and not much sugar. My parents ran a health food shops fgs! I was the kid who got to take carob cake to school for birthdays :rotflmaoMy dad is the same, dreadful teeth. Interestingly, my brother, who eats far and away the most sugar in the family, has perfect teeth. I very strongly suspect that if you looked at our teeth his would be better spaced and have shallower fissures. I don't think theres any serious debate that different people have different oral chemistry either contributing to the issue. Simple things-your mouth tending toward dryness, which is common in pregnancy but also, I think, if you tend to breathe through your mouth, say if your nose is often blocked-allergies. There's a lot going on there.


For me, if I didn't couple a low sugar diet with impeccable dental hygiene regime (brush 3 times a day, floss twice,anti-b mouthwash at first hint of trouble and dental appt, hygienist every 3 months), I doubt I'd have any teeth at all by this stage. I still have all my teeth but I have to work at it.


So do I make my kids brush? I do. I've had a lifetime of dental work. Its awful and its expensive. I need biyearly x rays. Once a filling is in, it needs maintenance esp if you go for the white ones. That's a lot of junk to take in your body. I'd rather avoid it for my kids. That said, there's never been a serious problem for me in getting my kids to brush. They kind of know the stakes.

post #12 of 31

As a child I lied about brushing my teeth and my parents didn't double check. I had a mouth full of cavities at a fairly young age because of this. Now, I've got a son with enamel hypoplasia, which means weak enamel on 6 year molars (and unfortunately on his front teeth, too). So yeah, brushing is a big deal here. I often make them do it twice just to be sure.

post #13 of 31

My kids have to brush twice a day too but it's really challenging to get the 3 y.o. to do it for any length of time. Poor little sucker has had his front top four teeth crowned due to cavities/rot when he was 2.

post #14 of 31
We make DS (2) brush his teeth every night, and about a month ago we stumbled upon a way to get him to have fun with it- and it hasn't gotten old yet. We make up all kinds of crazy things we are brushing out of his teeth, and then ask him incredulously how/if he actually ate that stuff. He likes when we have to brush motorcycles and container ships out, or birds & giraffes, etc. So glad this is working, because he was starting to get a little resistant, and I didn't want to have to forfe it the hard way.
post #15 of 31
Originally Posted by Jennyanydots View Post

So glad this is working, because he was starting to get a little resistant, and I didn't want to have to forfe it the hard way.

Ahh.... "force"..... I am still in the process of daily caffeination, and I actually thought, "what is 'forfing'??" before realizing it was a typo.  Good morning!  Thanks for the wake up call, and the laugh.  

post #16 of 31
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Ahh.... "force"..... I am still in the process of daily caffeination, and I actually thought, "what is 'forfing'??" before realizing it was a typo.  Good morning!  Thanks for the wake up call, and the laugh.  
Omg, that's hilarious. I'm glad I could provide some amusement. Stupid iphone! wink1.gif
post #17 of 31

Our bedtime routine consists of praying the Rosary, praying night prayers, brushing teeth, and reading in bed. I'm in the bathroom with all four of my children when we brush teeth, and we use fluoride free toothpaste. Nobody has to worry about spitting it out. (That's not why we use fluoride free toothpaste, but it's a nice benefit.) I brush my 2-year-old and 3-year-old's teeth once and I brush my 5-year-old's teeth with a 2-minute timer that the dentist gave us last year while my 7-year-old brushes her teeth. She will probably start flossing in the next year or two.


Though I haven't always, for about a year now I've been brushing three times a day and flossing with the Reach flosser that the dentist recommended. I've found it hard to maneuver regular floss so it was such a relief to find something that I can use between all of my teeth. One package of flosser refills lasts me for about a month. When my children start flossing I will most likely buy them Reach flossers too.


I would say that the three most helpful things for us are fluoride free toothpaste, 2-minute timers, and the Reach flosser.


post #18 of 31

Twice a day. After the v. first dentist visit recently which went well (no cavities) flossing, but with several reminders, has been included. Dentist also rcommends brushing gums to avoid plague growth. I am also teaching dd oil pulling with coconut oil. I absolutely love it. Dd not so much. If dd is too tired and refuses to brush at night dh will bring tooth brush to bed and trash can to spit in.

Edited by Neera - 9/9/13 at 9:34am
post #19 of 31

Neera, please tell me more about oil pulling with coconut oil. I already take it (swallow tablespoons) for hypothyroidism and if I could use it for my/our teeth I'd like to learn about that oo.

post #20 of 31

I make the 3 year old do it (although, he's never had an issue with his teeth and if he falls asleep before his teeth are brushed, I don't dig in there enough to wake him up).  The 5 yr old I don't have to force, because he's old enough to understand the consequences, and he's had cavities, and has one now (because we weren't flossing enough), so all I have to do is remind him.  I have to say, the hardest age to brush teeth was before 2.5 yrs...as they just didn't like it and didn't want to...older than that, they just accepted it as a ritual as much as anything else we do, like wash hands after the bathroom.  

CatholicMama, thanks for the link to the Reach flossers. Those look easier than the "straight flossers" that we use for reaching back to the molars.  Are they well waxed?  My 5 year old's teeth are so tight, that we regularly break the flossers trying to floss between his teeth.  It seems the more waxed ones work better.  

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