How do I get my son to brush his teeth?

Sherreka - posted on 01/03/2012 ( 26 moms have responded )

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My son has sensory issues especially when it comes to his mouth. He rufuses to eat anything smooth which is fine he growing fine without them. But he also despises brushing his teeth.We've asked the dentist and play therapist. The dentist says hold him down and brush through the kicking and screaming and eventually he'll just get used to the brush in his mouth. The therapist says try hand over hand and sing or play a song while helping him brush and eventually he'll get used to it.
Since we started brushing his teeth we've been doing it the denists way and for the past eight month or so we've been trying both ways (holding in the morning with me and hand over hand at night with daddy) but still no big change. He likes the idea of brushing his teeth. He asks for his tooth brush and he'll rub it around in his mouth but doesn't really brush anything. I continue to le him do it because at least he still like the brush but we'd love to be able to brush his teeth without the battle. With the fighting we can't do the best job and he already has two cavities and I never want him to have to go through getting another filling again.
Anyone experience this or have any ideas they would be greatly appreciated.

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Kimberly - posted on 01/20/2012

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Yes.....First off I think what your dentist said is rediculous! Hold your kid down, come on now. Especially since your trying to get him to do something that he may even be afraid of for some reason.

I understand it's a sensory issue but have u maybe thought of a vibrating toothbrush? Kids love them & It just may take his mind off the whole thing.

Another thought is maybe buble gum tooth paste or other good tastes like that. He may love the taste so much, he will want to go brush more.

Also brush w/him.

Good luck:)

Kimmi:)

Helen - posted on 01/09/2012

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I had the same problem with my son. I confess we turned to fuzzy brushes. They are a chewable toothbrush. On the days I can't be bothered to battle he has one of them. Although they aren't reusable we frequently reuse them, stick normal toothpaste on and pop them back into their little ball ready to be used again (too expensive to throw them away after a single use).
We've tried a normal toothbrush in soft, medium and hard. We've tried an electric toothbrush, we've tried pinning him down, visual timers etc etc. nothing works. On the rare occasion he will do it but the brush in his mouth upsets him. We tried so many different toothpastes to see if that was the problem aswell but nope. Just a sensory thing for him.

www.fuzzybrush.com

Candace - posted on 02/03/2012

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Yes. Last yr we were really having a hard time with this. His OT suggeted a Nuk brush. You don't brush his teeth with it but you rub around in his mouth before he eats. It is supposed to get him ready to accept new textures. I didn't really see a difference in the texture issues but he did get to the point where he would do it himself and he would let me do it. What is really helping now is a battery-operated toothbrush instead of a manual. He still doesn't care too much for it but I don't have to hold him down. I have seen a difference since we started and he has came a long way. He started with kicking and screaming and now he just whines a little. Hope this helps.

Patrina - posted on 01/15/2012

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My son is FINALLY starting to brush his without TOO much complaints at 10. I just forced him tears and all! It is one of those things they just have to get use to. It drove me nuts but I think it is one of the battles you have to fight. I'm sure eventually he will either get use to it or like my son realize that it is just one of those things he just has to do along with having a shower etc. Don't expect it over night it took 10 years for us and he still doesn't like it but just does it. Good luck and try not to worry.

Brandi - posted on 01/15/2012

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Distraction.. find something to distract him.. something he likes.. not food of course.. but maybe a movie.. let him brush watching tv.. it might help calm his nerves.. tell him when you brush you are getting the sugar bugs that ruin your teeth .. Its always trial and error with them.. I still trying to figure out how to wash my daughters hair without her freaking out..

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Janelle - posted on 10/16/2013

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I am in tears this morning. I have battled with my son who is 8 years olds now for 4 years to brush his teeth the right way. But this morning it got WAY out of control and I had to hold him down while I brushed his teeth. I felt like a monster. I don't know what to do anymore. I feel I have tried everything.

Mel - posted on 07/24/2012

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Oh my goodness! My 8 year old has ALWAYS hated having his teeth brushed! Aspergers, sensory prOcessing disorder and ADHD make it so difficult. His thing is the toothpaste. Lord knows I've tried every thing on the market but nothing works!!!! Totally losing this battle :-(

Crystal - posted on 07/22/2012

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My son loves the Raffi "Brush your teeth" song. It's on youtube. Also I rub the toothpaste into the tooth brush. He really doesn't like toothpaste. Oh and we do it during bath time, while we are washing things. He has to wash his teeth too. :)

Nahony - posted on 07/20/2012

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Hi my son used to be the same, now he has been improving a lot, but a year ago he cried every single time I washed his hair. Now I wash his hair twice a week, and everything is fine, still having problem with brushing his teath, but we doit anyway, i agree with you they need to learn to tolerate.

Lisa - posted on 07/20/2012

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We got our son a Dora electric toothbrush for Christmas. He loves it and the spin action cleans really quickly so it can be done fast. And we talk about killing the sugar bugs and that gets him into it. I think mentally he is able to overcome the sensory issues because he is excited by the brush and the process. Still, some days it is difficult to get him to let me start.

Kathe - posted on 07/20/2012

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The same with my 14 year old son. He sees the dental hygienist and Dentist every 6 months. They know he doesn't brush and they just encourage him to try. He won't try unless I force him and honestly, it's not worth the battle. I've tried various toothbrushes and tooth pastes over the years. He denies that it's a sensory issue but I'm sure it is due to his Asperger's. I'm a nurse and I've shown him photos of periodontal disease but it had no effect on him. I'm resigned that he'll probably begin brushing when he has to pay for his own dental care or he'll just loose his teeth at an early age.

Charity - posted on 02/04/2012

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I'm glad I saw this one,lol. My almost 5 year old won't let us go near his teeth with a toothbrush due to his sensory issues. I have also tried thomas toothbrushes, spongebob toothbrushes, and the electric one just scared him. We even had a "toothbrushing" party he had a horrible time at that party. I gotta admit seeing that you guys are having issues with this at 10 and 11 years old doesn't give me too much hope but I did get some ideas to try out like the fuzzy brush and the washcloth trick. I'm gonna try those out and hopefully we can get some cleaner teeth and fresher breathe.

Sherreka - posted on 02/03/2012

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Thank you all for the helpful ideas, his father and and I will try what ever might work

Bec - posted on 01/17/2012

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oh I just come back from dentist yest. as my son had a check up and perfect teeth. he hardly brushes and when does not proper its a technical brush I think what has helped is proffessional cleans every 6 mths mouth wash and only water to take to bed. he is 12 and has not one hole or filling etc... i was surprissed I thought he may need a filling but the above has paid off!!!

Julie - posted on 01/16/2012

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My son is 10 and I still clean his teeth for him as he will not do it himself and we have objections every day. It's been the same since he was about 5! He has a fruit flavoured toothpaste as he hates mint - it feels to him like it's burning his mouth. The toothpaste is not quite high enough in fluoride and is intended for "baby" teeth, so not ideal but at 1350ppm I think that's pretty good (recommended level is 1450ppm I think). His teeth get yellow very quickly which isn't helped by the fact he drinks a red coloured squash all day - won't drink water at all! I just keep persisting with the "You know what happens to teeth if they're not looked after" line and most days he "gives in" and will let me clean them. But it is an ongoing battle. Many of his "baby" double teeth have had cavities in but they've come out of their own accord so fortunately (so far) he hasn't needed a filling. I'm dreading if he does ever need one. If your son likes "playing" with the brush in his mouth, just let him do that as often as he likes and that way, at least some of the time, his teeth might get a bit of a clean as he will probably change the movements in his mouth to experience the different sensations. Good luck.

Julie - posted on 01/15/2012

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I have a 7 yr old with the same problem. Our dentist suggested using a washcloth to wipe down his teeth and gums. I usually just hold him and pry his mouth open to brush, but sometimes the washcloth works better. He even said not to worry about toothpaste most of the time, as long as we are cleaning with water. Good luck!

Brandi - posted on 01/15/2012

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Yeah.. show him what rotten teeth look like.. or what teeth that have become infected.. You have to be firm with them.. even if it is a sesory deal.. my daughter hates having her hair washed and brushed.. she screams and cries.. It pretty much sounds like weare killing her However it has to be done..so we iganor the yelling and screaming and just do it..get the pulse on.. it might help him.. Also show him whats all in our mouths germs and all

Bec - posted on 01/09/2012

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my son has this issue from time to time to I buy a kids mouth wash to at least remove some plaque/bacteria he is 12 im not holding him down lol...he would panic and be like holding a wild dog down lol

Fiona - posted on 01/04/2012

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my 12 yr old is just as bad ... and has always been this way. We are very fortunate that he has not had to get any fillings ... touch wood!! He understands the logic but hates the feeling of the brush in his mouth. In the end, we have a tooth check each evening. If it's not done properly he has to go back and do it again and again and again until they are done properly. One thing that we have invested in are single application dental floss. He uses one a night to remove the food from between his teeth. This has worked wonders and he seems to be going back less now. I've also been telling him since he was little that "yellow" teeth are a sign of being unclean. This seems to resonate with him. I don't think there is any easy way to get it done but keep persisting.

Kristin - posted on 01/04/2012

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I found an electric toothbrush worked better with my son. partly because the brush part was so much smaller, so he didn't feel as though he was being choked by the toothbrush. Also the brush spins and does most of the cleaning for him, so it takes less time to get a decent clean. Plus my son loved the idea that it was motorised. It's worth a try. Maybe let him choose which one he wants, so he feels like he has some control over it.

Maureen - posted on 01/04/2012

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My son has issues as well.... I hold him tightly against me and I brush his teeth ! If he has a problem then so be it.

Bobbi-Jo - posted on 01/03/2012

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My 11 yr old son is excited and loves the concept of brushing his teeth, he just doesn't like to do it because he doesn't like the feeling of it. We've changed brushes, toothpastes, etc, but he still doesn't like it. He can do most of it by himself but either me or one of his brothers will usually step in to help him do it quicker so it can be done as fast as possible. I was hoping by this age he'd be used to it; but he is not.

Alisha - posted on 01/03/2012

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I also have a similar issue with my son who is 2. I have to hold him down to do it and I always dread it. Even that way I feel he isn't getting the brushing he properly needs. So I bought a spin brush. He has to get used to it before it touches his mouth so I let him hold it to look at it then I tell him we need to brush and then I put on the paste and I still have to hold him down but I feel it works better then the regular toothbrush. Good luck!!!

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