Amy - posted on 01/05/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )
For quite some time now, I've been brushing my 20 month old baby girl's teeth with a baby toothbrush and water. No paste yet, as I tried it once and she didn't spit *anything* out!
At first, she would resist fairly mildly - pulling away, turning her head. But if I got her cornered and staying still, she'd accept it quite well. Singing, and allowing her to hold her hands under the running tap (I know, a waste, but it works!) also seemed to help - at first. One of her favourite DVDs has a song about teeth brushing, which was good while it was a novelty.
However, now I've had to shut the bathroom door to stop her running away, and she now screams for Daddy. The way she screams makes it sound like I'm hurting her!
I've made recent efforts to reduce the trauma - holding the brush so it can't go too far in and prod her in the back of the mouth... talking soothingly throughout... even explaining how teeth can end up hurting if you don't keep them clean, I don't want you in pain because I love you, that's why I'm brushing your teeth, etc. I know how to get her still with her mouth open by force, so I can get her teeth clean, but I think doing that just makes the problem worse! Any suggestions on how I can de-escalate this situation?
As a side note, I'm working on teaching her to spit, and when that shows some sign of working, I may try toothpaste. Maybe the taste will help to motivate her (at least when it's still new)? Thanks for any and all suggestions!