How much would your force the issue of brushing on a 15 month old? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 23 Old 04-21-2004, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
MomInCalifornia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: CA
Posts: 1,557
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My daughter is 15 months old. She HATES having her teeth brushed. We have been wiping down her gums since she was a wee one, so it is not a totally new concept. She now has 9 teeth: 5 on top and 4 on bottom, some of which are molars.

To brush her teeth, we have to lay her down, hold down her hands and legs so we don't get kicked or hit, and then hold her mouth open and brush as fast as we can. It is a 2 person job. We have NO other issue like this, nothing else we even romotly have to force. It is th eonly time she ever hits or kicks.

I feel like brushing her teeth is important, and while it would be eaier to not force it, it could very well lead to bigger and more painful issue later on.

She drinks water after each meal, does not nurse or drink a bottle to fall asleep, and eats mostly cheese, yogurt, vegies, grains and some almond butter, along with rice milk. No meat.

When we don't brush you can see food in the crevis in her molars, so I know there is food build up when we brush.

Am I doing the right thing?

We have tried making brushing fun, doing it in the tub, brushing the dolls, then mommys then hers, allowing her to help, allowing her to play with the toothbrush etc, as well as the little brsuh you wear on your finger...OUCH, she bit (also the only time she bites).

HELP!
MomInCalifornia is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 23 Old 04-21-2004, 05:55 PM
 
Song of Joy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: NC
Posts: 498
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We didn't force the teeth brushing issue and now we are dealing with 6 cavities and are having to use general anesthesia to fix it all before she has major problems. If I could do it over again, I would force the brushing issue (probably morning and night) to avoid what we are going through now.

You will have to do what suits your family best. That is just my opinion from having BTDT.
Song of Joy is offline  
#3 of 23 Old 04-21-2004, 08:37 PM
 
malamamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Green Rock in Blue...
Posts: 1,213
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Have you been for a check up yet? A fun visit to the dentist (a compassionate dentist who is great with little ones!) might help to reinforce the brushing.
Cuz YES, it is important and YES, most kids this age are resistant!
malamamama is offline  
#4 of 23 Old 04-23-2004, 10:08 PM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 7,802
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Personally, I had tons of cavities as a child and have absolutely horrible dentist memories, so I force it as much as I have to in order to get the job done. My kids now will brush with just a reminder, but they did not for a long time. I tried to make it as much fun as possible and we have a fabulous pediatric dentist that the kids love, but still, it was a struggle for a while.

We have seen very good results--one spot on one of my 6 yo's front teeth that they keep an eye on, but no cavities with either kid so far.
EFmom is offline  
#5 of 23 Old 04-24-2004, 01:23 AM
 
ethan'smamaCT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: old lyme, CT
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I didn't think there was any point in forcing the issue and so I didn't. Now DS is 2 and we are going to have to extensive dental work under general anesthesia. I now tell all of my friends with little ones that it is hugely important to press the issue.
ethan'smamaCT is offline  
#6 of 23 Old 04-25-2004, 12:01 AM
 
Smilemomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Why, right here, of course!
Posts: 1,157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow. You all have answered this in a way I never could.

Definitely the lesser of the possible evils.

If it helps any, once a child realizes that brushing is not negotiable, and is going to happen no matter what, they really come around. Out of my own three, two were fine and one was like your child, a physical altercation twice a day.

She comes to me now all chirpy, "Momma, it's your turn to brush my teeth!" Or if she's eating something sweet, she'll say, "the cavity bugs LOVE to eat this! It makes them strong so then they eat my teeth! Let's go brush them off!"

It took almost a year (!!) for this to turn around, though. She's very stubborn!

As far as I'm concerned, health issues are not negotiable.

Good luck to you. Check out the Dental Archives for some tips to help change things in your house -- you may have to switch techniques every few weeks, but it might ease things up a bit, not so much You VS Child.
Smilemomma is offline  
#7 of 23 Old 04-27-2004, 01:06 PM
 
emma'smama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have never felt so compelled to respond to a question. My daughter was the exact same way. We tried games, songs, different brushes, toothpastes, no toothpaste--nothing worked. She would bite, kick, scream, etc. and normally she was a very sweet girl. Some days my husband and I just let it go thinking that she ate very little sugar, drank lots of water, still nursed, etc. her teeth should be fine. When she was about 20 months old I noticed some discoloration on her teeth and decided to see a dentist. I was shocked to find out she had 5 cavities and would have to go to a surgery center and go under general anesthesia. Her front four teeth were so bad she would have to have veneers placed on them or she would have probably lose them completely. The cost of all this work was almost $2,400. Our insurance covered a lot of it, but we still had to come up with $750 on our own. The whole experience was very tramatic for our family and we vowed that we would do everything we could to prevent this from happening again.
Our dentist suggested bribes and even though I was opposed to it at first we decided to give it a try. We made a sticker chart and when Emma let us brush her teeth morning and night without a fight she got a sticker. 7 stickers = one book. We have spent a lot of money on books, but it has been worth it. She is now 3 and we just went in for a check-up and NO new cavities. Now she is very good when we brush her teeth and we no longer have to bribe her. I hope our experience can help other parents struggling with this issue.
emma'smama is offline  
#8 of 23 Old 04-27-2004, 01:16 PM
 
napless's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 655
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We thought we were doing a pretty good job - we made up lots of toothbrushing games, sang silly songs, etc. - but we let it go when ds was really resistant - and now he has a cavity which will be filled this week. I second what all the mamas have said: toothbrushing is non-negotiable! (That doesn't make it any easier though - sigh - ds #2 is just getting to the toothbrush-resistant stage.)
napless is offline  
#9 of 23 Old 04-27-2004, 02:47 PM
 
Sumobabe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Northeast Georgia
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree with the other moms that the issue of brushing is non-negotiable. But I wonder about the long-term damage (mental and emotional) that will be done if you have to continue to physically restrain your daughter to brush her teeth.

Here are some ideas that worked for us.

My daughter usually has three or four toothbrushes and at least two tubes of toothpaste. She gets to pick which toothbrush and which toothpaste we'll use, which gives her a measure of control over the process.

She gets to brush her own teeth first, and then I "check" behind her. We made it a game: I would pretend there were animals or some of her favorite characters hiding in her mouth and brush them out. To this day (she's four now), she still likes this game. If you haven't, you might try letting her brush your teeth too; we did that a few times. Sometimes little kids like spitting; you can always have her swish the water in her mouth then spit in the sink afterward if you think that will further entice her.

Also, make sure your hands don't taste bad. When I was little my mom smoked, and if she helped us floss or anything, the taste of nicotine on her hands--even after they were washed--was really yucky. Just a thought.

Good luck!
Sumobabe is offline  
#10 of 23 Old 04-27-2004, 03:10 PM
 
polypody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Missouri
Posts: 26
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We tried to make it a fun to brush our daughters teeth. Get a copy of Raffi's Brush your teeth song. We would sing that and brush her teeth twice a day. Now at four she does it herself but we give her a once over brush after she is done. Experiment with different toothpaste and toothbrushes. Maybe your child would like to pick out her own toothbrush at the store? Anyway if you get them into the habit now. It will become second nature when they are older. All you have to do is read a post about what they have to do to young children that get a lot of cavities to make you understand it is worth the short term hassle to prevent a future major awful experience. When it gets bad enough dentists sometimes have to completely sedate a child while working on there dental problems. I certainly would do everything I could to prevent that sort of scenario.
Good Luck!
polypody is offline  
#11 of 23 Old 04-27-2004, 03:41 PM
 
Breathe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 1,208
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Juat another mama who went thru LOADS of tears and kicking and screaming (I bet you can find an old post here from me about it!). At the time of all the resistance, we tried all the cute ideas listed above, but none worked. It was AWFUL. We did worry about emotional scars, bad associations, etc. etc, bc there was no other time in our day when we had such struggles.

But after being consistent and showing ds that we were serious and this was part of our bedtime routine, he stopped struggling -- happily, too, it wasn't like he was defeated or anyting -- and THEN started enjoying the songs and games and silliness. We still have to change the fun periodically, and sometimes even suggest that he has two choices: cooperate or we will hold his hands, but his resistance is half-hearted at those times and really just a stall tactic.

So hang in there. Your child will almost certainly come around, too. I hope the battle won't be too heartbreaking in the meantime! Good luck!
Breathe is offline  
#12 of 23 Old 04-27-2004, 08:07 PM
 
kristalr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
One thing to consider is that it may not be toothbrushing that is the issue. It may be that toothbrushing signals that bedtime is coming soon. Does your child dislike bedtime? If so, perhaps try toothbrushing at a different time, like immediately after the last food of the day, then follow it with something VERY enjoyable for your child. She may then come to associate toothbrushing as the signal that the enjoyable thing is next. Good Luck!
kristalr is offline  
#13 of 23 Old 04-27-2004, 09:28 PM
 
Song of Joy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: NC
Posts: 498
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oral B makes a toothbrush for infants (4 - 24 mo) that has a compact head and short bristles. This made toothbrushing much easier for us b/c it fit in her mouth easier and she didn't have to open as wide for us to brush well. We have tried a variety of other brands and makes, but the Oral B is the best that we have found yet.

She still hates being brushed, but now we are in and out before she really realizes that she hasn't even warmed up to a full throttle fit. I would say it cut brushing time in half b/c it fits her mouth better.
Song of Joy is offline  
#14 of 23 Old 04-27-2004, 10:12 PM
 
A Creative Chick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
[QUOTE= I feel like brushing her teeth is important, and while it would be eaier to not force it, it could very well lead to bigger and more painful issue later on.

She drinks water after each meal, does not nurse or drink a bottle to fall asleep, and eats mostly cheese, yogurt, vegies, grains and some almond butter, along with rice milk. No meat.

When we don't brush you can see food in the crevis in her molars, so I know there is food build up when we brush.

Am I doing the right thing?

We have tried making brushing fun, doing it in the tub, brushing the dolls, then mommys then hers, allowing her to help, allowing her to play with the toothbrush etc, as well as the little brsuh you wear on your finger...OUCH, she bit (also the only time she bites).

HELP![/QUOTE]

We had problems with our 3rd child brushing. We use to have to force it.. and to avoid the fight, I would try other measures (like apples, hard cheese, water etc).. but he's 4 now and has two cavities. Thank goodness they are not as deep as the dentist suspected! But he will have to have them filled in a few weeks. Considering the money that we have to spend and the procedures he has to go through, I would force it (as nicely and gently as possible though!).

Jennifer
A Creative Chick is offline  
#15 of 23 Old 04-28-2004, 03:17 AM
 
malamamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Green Rock in Blue...
Posts: 1,213
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Song of Joy
but now we are in and out before she really realizes that she hasn't even warmed up to a full throttle fit.
:LOL
Hey! How come this smilie isn't "laughing out loud"?
malamamama is offline  
#16 of 23 Old 04-28-2004, 11:19 AM
 
zealsmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 896
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumobabe
I agree with the other moms that the issue of brushing is non-negotiable. But I wonder about the long-term damage (mental and emotional) that will be done if you have to continue to physically restrain your daughter to brush her teeth.
ITA!

I think brushing can be non-negotiable without having to hold a child down. In our house, I brush my teeth when I'm ready, dh brushes his when he's ready, and ds brushes his when he's ready. But we all do it in the morning and before heading off to bed. And since he really likes that time of books and stories and songs and family, it is an incentive to get the job done. But sometimes he will take 15 or 20 minutes to decide that he is ready. Which is fine. What does a little lingering hurt? Nothing, in my opinion, if it will afford him sovereignty.
zealsmom is offline  
#17 of 23 Old 04-28-2004, 02:50 PM
 
rubysmomjess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 672
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
our pediatrician said I have to brush dd's teeth once a day... we do it at night after our milk. We sing songs and I let her help me brush my teeth and then I brush hers ...and I bought some of the kids, non-flouride toothpaste. That seemed to help. I also let he pick a toothbrush at the store (which at 16 month basically means they grab the brightest colors )

I still have trouble when she teething 'cause her month hurts. I think once they realize they have to do it they kind of mellow out...that and being silly always helps
rubysmomjess is offline  
#18 of 23 Old 04-28-2004, 03:52 PM
 
Song of Joy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: NC
Posts: 498
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by malamamama
:LOL
Hey! How come this smilie isn't "laughing out loud"?
Ah, we are just too tired for much more than that these days. She has been cutting 4 teeth for the past 2 months and I guess the whineys get to us too much, time being.
Song of Joy is offline  
#19 of 23 Old 04-28-2004, 04:27 PM
 
lilyka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Posts: 17,896
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Ava loves the brush but not having her teeth brushed. so we sorta work at it all day. I will stick it in get a tooth done and then she plays. then later, another tooth and she chews the brush for a while. tasty baby tooth paste helps a ton. I know saccarine. It is a trade off I am willing to make. Not the best hygene but it is the best I can get.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

lilyka is offline  
#20 of 23 Old 04-28-2004, 04:32 PM
 
ChristieB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Zuni mountains, NM
Posts: 1,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's definitely something to push. From what I've heard, all children are resistent to a certain extent, but there are some (ds included) who are remarkably resistent. I have some ideas, although we're still dealing with it sometimes at 3 yrs.

What we did at 15 mos. was to brush when he'd let us and not when he wouldn't. I think that just emboldened him. He would bite, hit and kick. If we let it go that night, he'd be worse the next. We basically gave up for awhile, and suffice it to say that he now has 4 caps on front upper teeth. We're watching a couple of other teeth, but they seem to be stable now. We've done the restraining (and although none of us enjoyed it at all, he doesn't seem to have problems from that, BTW), we've tried entertaining (which helps some, but he gets used to it and it stops working, but we can usually go back to it later), but what works the best for us is to offer a "treat" (non-edible, of course) afterward if there's no fighting. Since ds loves books, we agree to read a book after toothbrushing if he doesn't fight. Sometimes he prefers to do a puzzle with us. But we limit it to something calming (so wrestling with his dad isn't an option for the treat), since it's bedtime. If you choose to do that, be consistent, and if she fights you, she doesn't get a treat. Missing the treat once will make a huge impact. We also make sure that he's had enough to eat before brushing. That sometimes turns into a stalling tactic (at which point we set the timer with what we know is enough time for him to finish his snack, and tell him that when the timer beeps it's time to brush), but it's something we see as important. We don't want him to go to bed hungry.

Some other things we've tried and have worked sometimes are: letting him brush first, repeating the dentist's words every night before brushing, singing, setting the timer so he knows when toothbrushing will begin. We usually have to set the timer for him to brush his teeth himself, because otherwise it can turn into a stalling tactic and last 30 min. or more. He usually finishes before the timer beeps. He simply loves his dentist, so repeating his words worked for awhile.

Something else to keep in mind. For quite awhile just using a plain, wet toothbrush is best. When they get older, you can try a small amount of flouride-free toothpaste, but make sure your dd likes it. We felt that there was no option but to use flouride gel from the dentist for awhile. The kind ds liked he reacted to. The kind he didn't react to he didn't like. So that was definitely a problem. What we use now instead is a mixture of baking soda and salt (much healthier) sprinkled on the brush, and he likes that (go figure), so it's not a problem.

Also, be aware when she's teething, and be very gentle (or avoid the area completely for a short while). I think that if she knows you will be careful and respectful of her pain, then she will be more willing to let you brush.

I hope your dd will respond well to something. I know it's stressful to have to force it. Toothbrushing has just been such a stress producer in our family.

Good luck
Christie

Christie ~ proud Mama to : 5/01, and : 3/07; and proud wife to my since 1992. We have 13 and 2 : It's looking more and more like either a farm or a zoo around here.
ChristieB is offline  
#21 of 23 Old 04-29-2004, 11:22 AM
 
nursiemom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Fredericksburg, VA, USA
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When our daughter was most difficult we would give her her toothbrush with a little toothpaste on it and just let her chew on the brush. I could sometimes get her to move it around to different places in her mouth, so most (if not all) of her teeth got a chance to "chew." I also let her brush my teeth after I brushed hers. She always got a kick out of that. Tooth brushing is non-negotable at our house. I did like the idea suggested that maybe it isn't exactly the tooth brushing she dislikes but the fact that bedtime follows tooth brushing. Could you help her brush her teeth earlier in the evening and then read her favorite story, play her favorite game, etc. afterwards, THEN go to bed? Just some suggestions-- good luck!!!
nursiemom is offline  
#22 of 23 Old 05-01-2004, 01:40 AM
 
EmmaJean's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,922
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow, I am so sorry to see so many children needing extensive dental work. My dad is a children's dentist, so all my life we heard stories at the dinner table about all the little babies he had to PULL ALL their teeth!! So sad. From his pov, lots of parents just see them as "baby teeth" and they'll get their real ones in soon. What's the big deal about taking care of them? Anyway it is such a hard issue!!! Even hearing worst case senarios all my life, it is hard to push the issue w/ ds. Dh always forgets to brush ds when he does bedtime.

Anyway, one thing that helped James at around 15m was using an electric toughtbrush. Just a cheap one from the store. they have soft bristles and all and it was such a novelty! It was his favorite toy for a while.

What I just started doing (had totally forgotten about this trick from my childhood!) is telling James "We gotta get the sugar bugs out!" and then pretending to chase them out of his mouth w/ the toothbrush. He LOVES it! Then he looks on the floor for all the sugar bugs!! So cute.

Just a couple more ideas. I think this thread is great to remind us all of how important it is to brush, even though it's not always fun.

Thanks zealsmom for the reminder to let him choose when to brush. I think that might help our situation. Him knowing it WILL happen, but he can choose when (w/i a reasonable amt. of time).

Oh, and one more thing. About letting kids brush their own teeth. My dad's rule is when the child can write in cursive is when they can totally be on their own w/ brushing. Until then, parents need to either brush for the child or check and brush after the child. Just thought I'd add that in! Maybe other children's dentists have different opinions on that.
EmmaJean is offline  
#23 of 23 Old 05-03-2004, 06:37 PM
 
VWbugmomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There was a short period right around 1 year when my ds hated his teeth being brushed. I think, though, that I was brushing too hard on sensitive gums at the time. He was teething.

I put a step stool in the bathroom and let him play with the toothbrushes (they are washable) when ever. He 'brushes' his teeth this way several times a day and when it's time for the tooth paste, he is able to see himself in the bathroom mirror and watch me brushing mine right behind him. He's now 20 months. I swipe teeth and gums for him first and he's getting the hang of the rest of it.

I've always made the toothbrushes part of his 'toy collection' and when he's teething he likes to gnaw on them. I learned the brushing pressure by asking him 'Can I?' and watching his reaction to a quick swipe while he was playing.

The mirror thing works well, bc we make faces and noises at each other. It's also gotten him to wash his hands and face regularly, which is a big plus.

Sarah
VWbugmomma is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off