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Toothbrushing help?

480 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Song of Joy
DS (21 months) does not want to brush his teeth. When he was about a year old, he found it fun to imitate me, putting a little toothbrush in his mouth and wiggling it around; however, the appeal of this game has long since worn off. Sometimes I can get him to brush the beak of his beloved rubber duck, or another toy. We sing toothbrushing songs. I have even gotten him some (yuck!) kiddie toothpaste, which he happily sucks off the brush and then chucks the brush into the sink or tub. On the suggestions of a more commercial parenting site, I got us matching toothbrushes (kiddie ones) and also taught him to spit into the sink or tub as a "reward." Of course this backfired and he spits everywhere else all the time
just to be mischievous. D'OH!

Any advice? Although he is still nursing and eats fairly little sugar, I still feel concerned about this.
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Have you let him brush your teeth? I'd try to take the emphasis off of it if it's truly starting to become a struggle. Also have you tried a child's electric toothbrush? It might help
Em will sometimes brush mine first and that helped for a bit. She also gets the choice of "Do you want to brush first, or do you want Mommy to brush first?" and we take turns. We sing a song while brushing too (actually I guess I do most of the singing since her mouth is full of toothbrush, lol) and it usually works best if there are hand motions she can do to keep her occupied, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Really, it's just taken a lot of practice and getting used to it. Make sure the brush is soft and it's not putting too much pressure on his gums or making them sore.

Good luck!
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I saw this suggestion on the boards here and it works for us most of the time. Act like you are chasing things (bee's, bears, elephants) out of his teeth. We go through the whole zoo in his mouth. "I see an elephant on your top teeth. Oh, let me get that out of your mouth. I see a butterfly on your bottom teeth - I got it!" My ds seems to really think it's funny and most of the time we get almost all the teeth clean. Good Luck!
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we gave up on kiddo toothbrushes and buy a small headed soft bristled adult one for her. She was forever throwing the kiddo one on the floor and grabbing for daddy's.

the above posters covered much of what we do already.

not mentioned:
we only brush teeth in the bathroom (dd had a tendency to take brush and run through the house).

we *do* brush our teeth in the shower or tub sometimes. she seems to enjoy that.

and finally some nights or mornings we call it a lost cause and give her a drink of water before bed.
Good for you, Mama, for being concerned!!!

Here is a link from the Dental section. It is really important that you brush now. Children have thinner enamel than adults and once decay starts in, it is really hard to stop. My 20 month old dd just went under 1.5 hours of general anesthesia for 5 crowns, a filling and sealants. Not to mention about 6 dental check ups, x-rays, and a dental regimine (with a diet change) that even adults would find to be overwhelming.

I think the Dental Archives have some other suggestions, and if you post there you will get a lot of help from other mamas like me who have dealt with dental problems in toddler/babies. I think that they would agree with me that when it comes down to brushing with fussing or not brushing at all, the fussing is much less traumatic than the alternative. I wish with all my heart that I had pushed brushing even when she fussed....but I can't turn back time. Of course, in our house now, there is no option other than "You can fuss or not fuss while I brush your teeth." She does get to do her own, ours, the doll's, and so on, but we always brush after all the fun and games, to make sure she gets very clean.

Oh, one last isn't the breastmilk that causes the decay, it is the other foods. Some children are just more predisposed to getting cavities, I think. Check out getting a Xylitol toothpaste for you child. It has great potential of preventing cavities....up to 80%, I think. There is a recent thread in Dental on Xylitol wipes for babies teeth right now.

Anyway, here is the link:

I hope I didn't overwhelm you....this is just such an important issue that is often overlooked. And I don't want any child to go through what mine has when it could easily have been stopped.
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