brushing teeth is torture - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > brushing teeth is torture
bettyjones's Avatar bettyjones 10:26 PM 01-22-2010
Any suggestions. Try to "make brushing fun" but dd was on iron and her teeth turned brown. Really need help. She screams and cries. Not very relaxing before bedtime. Right now I hold her head in my lap.

bscal's Avatar bscal 10:35 PM 01-22-2010
We have a certain routine that has all 3 of my kids running to the bathroom to brush their teeth. (Each one wants to be first!)

The child stands on the stepstool and starts to brush. I stand behind the child, with my hands on their hips and gently sway them side to side singing our "Brush, brush, brush song". It's a made up song to the tune of "Shake your Booty". The words are:

Brush, brush, brush.
Brush, brush, brush.
Brush your teethies.
Brush your teethies.

Brush, brush, brush.
Brush, brush, brush.
Brush your teethies.
Brush your teethies. AND SPIT! (We all yell that part.)

We sing it twice. Once while they take a turn to brush and a second time while I have a turn. After my turn they get to jump off the stepstool.

Oh, and my kids are DD - 7 yrs, DD - 4 yrs and DS - 2.5 yrs. We've been singing through teeth brushing since my older DD was about 3... started with the younger ones when they were about 18 mos old or so.

HTH,
Beth
blizzard_babe's Avatar blizzard_babe 10:56 PM 01-22-2010
I'm there with you. DS is 20.5mos, and it's getting a LITTLE better. Like, I only have to hold him down 50% of the time. I've found that as his language gets better, he's tolerating it much better, because we can do things to make it fun. I say, "I'm going to... TICKLE YOUR TONGUE!" and then tickle his tongue with the brush, followed by a brushing of a few teeth, which he tolerates for a few seconds.

Then I pull the brush out and say, "I'm going to... TICKLE YOUR TONGUE!" again, and we do the whole thing, over and over, until we're done. If he's not cranky and overtired, it usually works. Usually.

BUT, before he had a strong grasp on language, any attempt at "making it fun" was a complete waste of time and effort. I just tried to be as soothing and understanding as possible while we did our thing.
NaturallyPeachey's Avatar NaturallyPeachey 11:40 PM 01-22-2010
DS is 20 months. Most days we say roar like a lion and open our mouth really big and he follows along while we brush his teeth real quick. Other days it's a crap shoot!
lifeguard's Avatar lifeguard 12:59 AM 01-23-2010
OP - how old is your child?

I agree with pp that before they are verbal it's really hard to make it fun 'cause they just don't get what you're doing. I try during bathtime. If he fights it it doesn't happen that night. Imo it's not worth starting off with teeth brushing being a fight right from day one or I risk it never being a pleasant activity.
sunfish21's Avatar sunfish21 01:11 AM 01-23-2010
I have my DD who is 22 mos say EEEE and AHHHHH for the fronts and insides. Then I tell her we have to get the ones way on the back...
If they understand, the hygentist that works at my dad's dental office said many like the "I am brushing the pink bugs out...now the green ones...".
Lately I have been reminding her of her bedtime snack for nighttime brushing and saying that is what we are cleaning, "..let's brush all of the crackers out of your teeth....now the cheese...brush it away..."..

It is worth being creative and persistent. They see little ones at the office whose baby teeth are rotten, they fall out, then there isn't the proper space for the adult teeth. Good luck!
wetcement101's Avatar wetcement101 02:48 AM 01-23-2010
I start brushing my teeth first- so 25 mo old DD really wants to join me. We get electric toothbrushes with *characters* on them, and Thomas the Tank Engine toothpaste. Sometimes I still wrangle her to get the upper teeth, but overall she is happy to brush the front and bottom.
_betsy_'s Avatar _betsy_ 03:05 AM 01-23-2010
Let her have a turn first
Let her help squeeze the toothpaste on (no idea why this works, but it's been the KEY to having a peaceful tooth brushing session with 3 yo DD for a few months now)
Let her brush your teeth
Let her pick out her own toothbrush at the store
When you're brushing, say "I see a monkey in there! I'm gonna get him! Hey! Get back here, monkey!"(switch sides of mouth) "Now there's a giraffe in there! I'm gonna get him!"

HTH!
AustinMom's Avatar AustinMom 03:23 AM 01-23-2010
I have a cheapo oral B electic tooth brush that my son thinks is fun. He's 18 mo, and very much into imitating me, so he saw me do it, so I brushed his. I know it's different with an older child, but maybe take her to the store, let her pick out her tooth brush, let he try first, sign songs, maybe add a little "tooth brush dance", maybe get a mouth figurine and have her brush that too?

I don't know. Just some thoughts...
redvlagrl's Avatar redvlagrl 08:46 PM 01-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by bscal View Post
We have a certain routine that has all 3 of my kids running to the bathroom to brush their teeth. (Each one wants to be first!)

The child stands on the stepstool and starts to brush. I stand behind the child, with my hands on their hips and gently sway them side to side singing our "Brush, brush, brush song". It's a made up song to the tune of "Shake your Booty". The words are:

Brush, brush, brush.
Brush, brush, brush.
Brush your teethies.
Brush your teethies.

Brush, brush, brush.
Brush, brush, brush.
Brush your teethies.
Brush your teethies. AND SPIT! (We all yell that part.)

We sing it twice. Once while they take a turn to brush and a second time while I have a turn. After my turn they get to jump off the stepstool.

Oh, and my kids are DD - 7 yrs, DD - 4 yrs and DS - 2.5 yrs. We've been singing through teeth brushing since my older DD was about 3... started with the younger ones when they were about 18 mos old or so.

HTH,
Beth
LOL
That is so funny! We sing exactly this!!! Except the spit bit bc DD is too young!

I stand behind DD while she is standing up and cup her chin in my hand, lean over her and brush while asking her to open her mouth. We had our first dentist vist last week and were praised on how clean her teeth are. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised that we were doing such a good job because it's pretty brief and only once a day. If she's realy resisting, I just do a cursory job because I don't want it to be torture.
bettyjones's Avatar bettyjones 06:58 PM 01-24-2010
DD is 16months. I'll try the stepstool and song. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Luke's mama's Avatar Luke's mama 01:08 AM 01-25-2010
ds is 20 mos. when we started brushing, I got some weleda children's tooth gel and it must taste great because once he got the idea, he is always asking to brush his teeth and I put a tiny speck on and let him "brush" when he likes and then at night I take over and do a real brush. Giving him his own brush to carry around made it fun for him, too. Unforunately he likes to collect EVERYONE's brushes and carry them around (and sometimes brush the dogs' teeth...). Anyway, the weleda gel has been a big hit.
Picard's Avatar Picard 03:30 AM 01-25-2010
Great thread. We have lots of trouble with our 21 month old DS. So far, he has 5 different toothbrushes and 1 electric one of which he is scared. He gets the Weleda paste and likes to 'brush' his teeth himself, but there is no way that we get a turn. He is super strong and there is just no way to force him. It's torture and his upper front teeth are yellowing. It worries me lots. So, now I have resorted to scraping the plaque off his front teeth while he is sitting in the car seat. He tolerates this pretty well. I also scrape the gunk off during his nap or as he sleeps at night. Tonight was the first time that he kindly let me brush his teeth.
JennTheMomma's Avatar JennTheMomma 02:52 PM 01-25-2010
I agree with the electric toothbrush. Those work great. Hunter hated the normal toothbrush be he loves the electric one. I always brush mine first so he knows we're getting ready for his.
Thalia's Avatar Thalia 04:35 PM 01-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunfish21 View Post
If they understand, the hygentist that works at my dad's dental office said many like the "I am brushing the pink bugs out...now the green ones...".
Lately I have been reminding her of her bedtime snack for nighttime brushing and saying that is what we are cleaning, "..let's brush all of the crackers out of your teeth....now the cheese...brush it away..."..
Quote:
Originally Posted by _betsy_ View Post
When you're brushing, say "I see a monkey in there! I'm gonna get him! Hey! Get back here, monkey!"(switch sides of mouth) "Now there's a giraffe in there! I'm gonna get him!"

HTH!
We do this and it really helps. The "animals" in DD's mouth make noises as we brush them off: "Now I'm going to brush the doggies off. Woof Woof! Now I'm going to brush the kitties off. Meow Meow! There they go!" I'm pretty sure I picked this up from an MDC mama.

Another thing to try might be changing the kind of brush you use. We normally use a toddler brush, but the other day I decided to use a baby brush that came free with some Weleda toothpaste. It's the kind that fits on an adult's finger. DD loved it! She let me use it on her and then used it herself, too. Worth a try.
simplycrunchy's Avatar simplycrunchy 08:01 AM 01-26-2010
DD is super sensitive and gags as soon as the toothbrush goes in her mouth. I use a wet washcloth and that makes it so much easier. She actually lets me scrub her teeth with it. If she starts getting restless I move my finger and let her bite the rag and we pretend she's a dog. Then when she's done, I "brush" them more with the rag.
aikigypsy's Avatar aikigypsy 09:29 AM 01-26-2010
When we went to the dentist he suggested using wet gauze, too . ("Even an old sock!" he said.) It's still hard, but with a toothbrush it was impossible.
wetcement101's Avatar wetcement101 10:48 AM 01-26-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by _betsy_ View Post
When you're brushing, say "I see a monkey in there! I'm gonna get him! Hey! Get back here, monkey!"(switch sides of mouth) "Now there's a giraffe in there! I'm gonna get him!"

HTH!
Thanks mama- we used this successfully last night after a very tired toddler refused to brush her top teeth. No monkeys in her mouth anymore!
blizzard_babe's Avatar blizzard_babe 04:10 PM 01-26-2010
We tried the animal trick last night and this morning, and...

*drumroll*

SUCCESS!

He actually whined when we had to put the toothbrush away because it was time to go.
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