Does anyone have any creative ways of brushing your 1 yr old's teeth?

Stephanie - posted on 05/22/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )




I am having the hardest time brushing my 16 month old's teeth. She'll let me do the molars and bottom teeth pretty well, but the top two front teeth turns into a nightmare. She actually has stuff along her gum line at the top of her teeth from poor brushing, but I just can't get it. If I want to make sure they get well brushed, I'd have to pin her down so she can't move her arms or her head and while she's screaming try to clean them. But she also sticks her tongue between her teeth and the toothbrush, so I'm brushing more of the tip of her tongue than her teeth! And needless to say, it doesn't get done because it's just too much of a fight. So, does anyone have any fun ways of teeth brushing that'll allow me to properly clean her teeth without it being a scream fest? Thanks!


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MaryJo - posted on 06/07/2009




My dentist told me lay my son on the bed, flat on his back, head at the end of the bed. This makes it much easier. You also need to floss at this time. Though I always brushed his teeth, I was not flossing and he had cavities inbetween all of his molars. Many thousands of dollars later, We floss daily and he has been cavity free for 1 1/2 years.

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You should visit a pediatric dentist. I thought the stuff around my daughters front teeth was plaque and I thought when we went to the dentist they would just clean it off. I brushed every morning and sometimes at night. I also used the finger toothbrush, thought I was doing 19 months she had 5 cavities and had to have them filled.OMG! don't do this. Holding (lightly and with love) your child down now is better than seeing them strapped to a board.

Here is what I learned:

NO sticky candy.. like fruit chews, they are like concentrated juice ( I read this too..Daddy gave her candy!)

Only give juice with meals not all day... even if you cut it with water! Just get in the habit of giving water all day now ( juice gets expensive anyway!) Sugar feeds bacteria and gives it super powers ( so to speak)

Brush at night before bed.. more important than the morning because it has all night to work (the bacteria), and after meals and in the morning, if your really serious. (hard to remember to do, but think of your baby strapped to a board, only feet and head sticking out!!!!)

There is a reason all the baby magazines say see a dentist at 1 year. That is right about the time the "stuff" starts making holes in their teeth!!! I wanted to avoid my horrible fear of the dentist, and I probably started it for her! She now loves her electric toothbrush, and I hope our next visit is all stickers and smiles.


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we play the say ah and cheese game when i brush my childrens teeth and after i do it i let them brush away themselves and it seems to be a hit! for the back and side teeth i tell them to say ahhh really loud and then i brush the back and sides and when i want to do the front teeth i tell them to say cheese real big and the kids laugh and laugh and once i am done they get a turn to do it themselves and they really like that and they do what i did they say ahhh and cheese and brush away! just try to make it fun for them kids love to play games! hope that helps!

Lisa - posted on 06/02/2009




honestly, i started brushing my teeth with my daughter, and she will eventually copy everything you do. i gave my daughter a tooth brush around 18 months. yeah she chewed on it at first, but at least she was gettin her teeth. Then we she starting watching me more, and copying me in the mirror, she started to brush all her teeth the same way i do. just get a stool for her to stand and see in the mirror, and brush with her. making a child brush there teeth will get you no where, they have to want to do it themselves. now my daughter is 3 and she LOVES brushing her teeth. she does it more then she needs to at times.

Stephanie - posted on 05/28/2009




Thank you everyone for all your suggestions! I will try ALL of them! :)

Amber - posted on 05/25/2009




All are great suggestions but here is something else. Check with your city and see it they add fluoride to the water. I live in BC Canada and we don't have added fluoride so it is very important for us to use a fluoride toothpaste for our teeth. There are different toddler toothpastes with and without fluoride but talking with our dental hygenist it is important to use fluoride even if the brushing isn't great(the toddler toothpastes are designed for them to swallow).

Samantha - posted on 05/24/2009




my daughter loves to look in the mirror, so when we brush her teeth, we do it facing the full lenght mirror on the bathroom door. She smiles really big and makes it easier to brush her teeth, before she starts to suck on the toothbrush. The toothpaste is banana flavored and that really helped ease brushing. you may want to try a baby toothpaste that has a flavor that your daughter enjoys normally.

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I have my son show me his "monster teeth" (he opens wide and roars) to get to the inside, and then I have him say "eeeee" (like smiling) to get to the front teeth, and the outside of the back teeth. It took a while and some wrestling around to get him to sit still. The thing that worked first was to stand him on the counter so he could see his teeth in the mirror. Usually now I hold him on my lap and tip him back so I can see in his mouth. Another thing that worked: my husband would peek around the bathroom door and do silly things to make my son laugh, and while his mouth was open I would brush a few teeth. I just had to keep at it, and even now he gives me trouble once in a while, but all in all we are pretty successful. I also let him brush them himself first.

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We started brushing our son's teeth pretty much as soon as they started coming in. We use Orajel Training Toothpaste and a toddler tooth brush. In the begining he would squirm a lot and try to wiggle his way out of it. One day I sat him on the edge of the sink where he is facing the mirror, his back to my stomach (so that he won't fall). Then I sing the abc's while I let him hold the tooth brush (he chews on it). When round one of abc's are done, he claps for Mommy and then I sing them again, this time with me doing it and he doesn't fight me at all. I think it's a combo of him being able to see himself in the mirror and of me singing.
Another thing we do is that we all brush our teeth together in the morning. He tries to copy just about everything we do and I think he likes that we are all brushing our teeth at the same time.

Jocelyn - posted on 05/23/2009




i had posted a question similar to this one a while ago, and the best answer that i got was to go and buy an electric toothbrush. my son loves it! first i let him brush his own teeth, and then i go back and tell him to make the funny faces (that i'm making) so i can get his teeth too. good luck

Rhonda - posted on 05/22/2009




My daughter is 18 m/o. I have two toothbrushes. One for Alyssa to brush (she just chews on it) and the other one I use to brush on the opposite side of her mouth that she has "her" toothbrush. I also let her look in the mirrow while her & I both brush. On days that she doesn't want anything to do with brushing, I will sing her the ABC's. This will distract her enough so, I can at least get them semi brushed. It's a challenge. Just keep trying. Make it as positive and fun as you can! Good-Luck!


Cara - posted on 05/22/2009




My son is 16 months as well, and brushing is tricky for sure. I also us the finger gum cleaner, with flouride free toothpaste. I like it because I have better control over what I am doing, and can feel the teeth so I know I'm brushing them. I usually sit Josh on the edge of the sink and let him play with the running water while I brush. It keeps him distracted. I've also given him a toothbrush to clean Mommy's teeth at the same time. And after a snack I hand him his own toothbrush with some tooth paste on it and let him chew it. That was he's getting some of the gunk off by himself. Another way I've found easier is every once and a while brush them while he is laying down. They can't squirm as much and you can get a better cleaning done. Have you taken her to a dentist yet? I'm going to do that in a few weeks. Get her used to the dentist, and maybe the Dentist will have some tips!

Tara - posted on 05/22/2009




Hi Stephanie. I don't know if you would have these in the US (I'm in Canada), but when my daughter was born, I was given a package with info on various things, including dental care. My package included a little baby "gum" brush - it's a little rubber finger that you pull on over your finger and it has very soft bristles. My pediatrician and our health nurse both said it was okay to use something like this on my daughter's first teeth (she's 14 months and just got her first one). I've been using it to clean her gums for ages, and now that she is getting her teeth in, I'm still using it, and she loves it - she'll let me do all areas of her mouth. Something like that might work for your daughter as well.

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