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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my 19 month old dd cannot stand to have her teeth brushed and she stinks at doing it herself, lol! I always end up fighting with her and she clamps her little mouth closed and I have to shove the toothbrush in there and accidentally "stab" her with the thing just to get it in her mouth. I have at times used those baby "toothbrushes" that slip on your finger just because it is easier for me to stick my finger in her mouth and not hurt her than it is to use a normal toothbrush.

Is there any sort of alternative? I can't imagine that that baby toothbrush thing cleans her teeth very well. Has anybody found an alternative that works?

Thanks!
 

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I use one of those battery powered spin toothbrushes for each of my kids. The 5 year old does a pretty good job on his own, but my 2 year old still needs help, so mommy does it first, then she gets a turn. She is majorly miss "I do it!", so it is a struggle at times, but I find it works best if I stand behind her, and do it looking down over her to make sure I get all areas covered. We do the same for combing hair...she gets a turn then I do. Maybe that would help?
 

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We've got an assortment of toddler-sized toothbrushes, and I let her choose which one. That way it's not about whether we're brushing her teeth or not, it's about which toothbrush would she like to use (since the brushing is going to happen regardless, at least an attempt to, anyway
).

For us, the brushing teeth battle is all about giving her as much control as possible, while still getting her teeth clean. So, I got a sturdy stool with rubber feet, and put a small mirror behind the sink so she could see herself. She pulls the stool up to the sink herself. She climbs up on it. She points to the mirror and makes faces, etc. She's got her own toothbrushes to choose from in the holder nearby. She helps me put the tooth gel (we use Spry -- she loves the taste) on the brush, etc. I give her as much control as possible, and this helps.

Then I give her a small plastic cup and she plays with the water (which I leave running initially, just a trickle) while I brush her teeth. Sometimes she holds a different toothbrush and dips it in the cup. I sing silly songs and whatnot and when she resists, I tell her to stick out her tongue so I can brush it (which tickles, and she likes) then I sneak the brush back to get at her molars. After I'm done, then she can "brush" her teeth however she likes, or not.

That way we're ending on a good note. Before we tried letting her do it first, but this was doing two things: 1. basically teaching her she wasn't doing a good enough job -- we want to encourage this habit, not discourage it. And 2. it was ending the brushing on a bad note because she doesn't like it when I brush her teeth, usually. Tougher to get a toddler to sleep easily at night when she's all wound up and mad.


So the whole, "Mama brushes first then you can brush" thing, plus the added distractions and giving her as much control/choice as possible also helped.

But some nights it's a quick swipe and a "Drink the water please" from her cup, because honestly it's not worth it to have her in a meltdown right before bed. But I'll tell her ahead of time if she's eaten something sticky (like a cereal bar) that we have to be sure to brush our teeth really really well later on. So she's got some warning ahead of time.

We also let her play with the toothbrush in the bath, which sometimes helped.

We go through phases, but it's been gradually successful. There were some nights I had to stand behind her and hold her head still and brush a bit. She hated that most of the time, but once she had the mirror and water/cup to play with that helped. Most of the time though she'll let me brush first then she brushes afterward ("in case Mama missed a spot!"). But it's slow going for sure. The only thing we didn't try is an electric brush -- only because she tends to throw things at times. That was our next step but things got better on their own. Whatever works for you, do it.


Good luck, Mama. It ain't easy, I know!
 

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DS has the Preserve kids brush and he really likes it. When he was little, like DS2 is now, he had this one, and liked that a lot, too.
Our local NF Co-op, Whole Foods and baby store have them--I think BRU probably does, too. Also, have you tried having her brush her teeth while you brush yours? Then you can have her brush your teeth for a second, and then you get to brush hers.
 

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We brush our teeth together in front of the mirror, sometimes a couple of times throughout the day. She likes it and it shows her that everyone has to brush teeth, it's not just some torture we devised for her.

I also let her use this more independently at other times of day:
http://www.babyplanetboutique.com/an...ush-p-802.html

At nighttime, I hold her on my hip and she gets a turn brushing in front of the mirror, then I sit on the toilet seat and lay her across my lap, face up obviously. I tuck her right arm under my left arm (gently) and block her left arm as I use my right hand to brush her teeth. I talk through it and explain what I am doing. I think she is calmer laying down for it than she would be standing up. Lately she has been totally cooperative, I think just doing it the same way every time has given her predictability and less stress. She gets another turn with the toothbrush when I am done.
 

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I bought some of those toothbrushes that look like Crayola markers. I let my ds choose which one he wants, and since I've been doing that, we've been mostly battle free. I think that when he gets bored with these, I'll buy some Firefly flashing ones and let him pick between a couple of those. It was really tough for a while with screaming, kicking, and crying, but this has been a solution for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice folks! This is my third, so I should know what I'm doing by now, right?
She is just way more resistent to the tooth brushing than my other two were. I'm going to try some of these suggestions today! Thanks again!
 

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we had this same issue with our 18-month old. out of desperation, i decided to try a little bit of baby toothpaste. for some reason, that did the trick. now he opens wide, even for the babysitter. i'm sure it won't last though.....
 

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DD has a cheapy electric toothbrush with a dolphin on it. She actually uses it a bit, which is great progress. Before, we tried six different toothbrushes and she was not into it at all. Our dentist said that the electric toothbrush is great, because it is distracting, so they'll put up with it in their mouth longer and anywhere it touches the teeth, it'll clean them, unlike regular toothbrushes. The baby toothpaste idea sounds good, too.
 
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