Teeth Brushing without the fight?

Courtney - posted on 06/17/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I have a two year old and every morning and especially night it is a BATTLE to brush teeth. Flailing arms and legs, throwing herself around, attempting to hit and screaming and hysterical tears. I'm using a very soft bristle brush made for toddlers, brushing gently. I have the flavored toothpaste. I have tried to even let her brush her teeth but she throws the toothbrush and starts crying. I've tried singing a made up song and making it seem fun, praising her afterwards when its all done, and brushing my teeth before her to make it seem like a fun mother/daughter game.

Is this just an act of toddler defiance? Should I just push through it and keep it up and hopefully eventually she'll give in? Please any advice out there is greatly appreciated.

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Gigi - posted on 12/11/2012

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It doesn't matter how old a child is - if she/he is eating normal food, teeth have to be brushed properly twice a day. Like with everything else, this is the time to teach them how to properly care for their teeth - as someone else mentioned already - it is not optional. There were some great suggestions listed before (picking their toothbrush, being interactive with water, brushing with them, making it fun), but I would just like to add a"timer" suggestion - we use egg timer set to 2 and a half minutes and I brush my daughter's teeth until the times sets off. That worked well for us, I think it has to do with her knowing that ring means we are finished so consequently she is aware that it won't last "forever". She gets to hold the timer if she wants.

Heather - posted on 12/10/2012

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She is ONLY 2 years old. You need to brush her teeth for her. Try doing it when you give her a bath. Do it quickly and get it over with. If her teeth only get brushed a few times a week, it's honestly fine. That's what our dentist told us. She is only two years old. It's not an act of toddler defiance. Where did you hear that???

Cleaver - posted on 12/07/2012

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my 2 year old brings me mine and his tooth brushes i do mine at the same time as him i usually need to brush mine again because i like late night snacks but thats okay with me

Linney - posted on 12/07/2012

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I'm right there with you on this-only my daughter is 8 years old and this whole "I don't wanna brush my teeth" ordeal just started a few months ago. She usually fights me on it in the mornings before school, she says it makes her feel like she's going to throw up! I've tried everything-songs, rewards, charts, telling her she doesn't want to have "smelly breath" (esp around her friends!), she's afraid of the electric ones, I let her pick out her own toothbrush, decorate it, taking turns, letting her pretend brush her dolls teeth, etc, etc...

I'm at a total loss for what to do! Bad teeth run in our family too so it's really important that she brushes-yes, I've explained that to her too!

Advice, anyone..please?

Thanks!!

Danielle - posted on 06/23/2010

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My daughter likes to do it herself. She's usually really good about it, but sometimes she locks her mouth closed unless I let her put the brush in the running water and let her sort of chew on it. She also thinks it's funny when I tell her to stick her tongue out and get that. I think this is one of those things that you either have to work it out, or just make him. The health of his teeth and gums aren't up for discussion- it's kind of like the fight over wearing a seatbelt. Keep trying different things to make it better, but if it's doesn't help, you can't just not do it.

Ashley - posted on 06/22/2010

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My son doesnt like us to brush for him either. He also wont do it himself very well. I always try to get him to actually "Brush" his teeth, but this makes him upset. My husband tells me to just let him do it his way, all we are doing is showing him that its a routine you do everyday and it doesnt have to be perfect. We have a toothbrush for him that lights up and we sing songs when he's "brushing" to make it fun. Also, we have electric ones and his is plain, but he loves ours! We are getting him an electric one as well and I would suggest you try one for her.

Birttney - posted on 06/20/2010

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My son is one and i had to fight him well. What i did was bought him one of those spine brushes. Now he thinks it fun to brush his teeth. Maybe you should try that.

Laura - posted on 06/18/2010

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I love the idea of letting her have some "control" by picking out her own toothbrush! I would caution, make a few selections and let her pick from those, I can just see you standing there in the store trying to explain why she can't have the "huge" daddy-sized toothbrush! I let my son turn the water on and off, and tell him "time to get the brush wet" so he flings water all over doing so...it's productive and fun, and he runs to the bathroom for toothbrushing time. My best advise would be to let her feel like she's got some control over tooth brushing, like choosing the toothbrush. Maybe a special rinsing cup??

Kristen - posted on 06/18/2010

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My son was difficult in the beginning and this worked like a charm: get a 2nd toothbrush and let her pick which one she wants to use that time while you brush her teeth with the 2nd one.

Donna - posted on 06/18/2010

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My old dentist would say to push it through. If she's screaming then her mouth is open. I don't quite agree. I think encouraging, supporting is always a better choice. Have you tried to find out why she protests so much? First acknowledge she doesn't like it. You can even say you don't like it either. Show compassion, understanding and support. Then try finding out what the real reason is she doesn't like it. Ask her if she'd like to do it herself or you do it for her. Give her some choices so she doesn't feel so powerless. I like Liz's idea about picking it out a toothbrush herself. My daughter liked the automatic ones. Good luck!

Liz - posted on 06/18/2010

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Have you tried taking her to the store and letting her pick out a pretty pink electric toothbrush?

That's work with just about anything my son first protested to. Let them pick their own, the get excited about it.

If that doesn't work. Start using a wash cloth. The brush might be too rough for her?

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