My 1 year old won't let me brush his teeth

Jen - posted on 09/05/2013 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My 12 month old son hates having his teeth brushed. So far, I have tried singing him a tooth-brushing song, having Daddy do it, having him look in the mirror, trying to make it fun, and nothing has worked. He clamps his lips shut and turns his head from side-to-side to avoid the toothbrush.

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Jen - posted on 09/13/2013

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My son went to his first dentist appointment yesterday and it was good news, the dentist said his teeth looked fine. The dentist even said that it isn't a big deal if you can't brush your baby's teeth very well at this age, he said to let him hold and play with the toothbrush and not to sweat it. :)
We were concerned because it looked like he has some kind of whitish blobs at the base of his bottom two teeth, but the dentist said it wasn't plaque, it was his gums. Apparently, when baby's teeth are still coming in, they can get some puss build-up at the gum line from the irritation. Gross, but nothing to worry about.

Stephanie - posted on 09/05/2013

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At the start of bath time, use a wet wash cloth wrapped around your finger or just let him chew on it. He can suck the water and you can rub his teeth with the wash cloth.
I used to clean my daughters teeth that way, think I switched to an actual brush around 15 months. I now use either a finger brush or a small kids tooth brush. But, she still likes best to use daddy's tooth brush, she is 20 months.

Kim - posted on 09/05/2013

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I ended up having to hol dboth my kids down and forcing it. When he was 3 my son had several cavities, so I don't feel bad about making his little sister brush nightly. A little difficulty brushing is much easier than having dental work done.

Lisa - posted on 09/10/2013

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I spoke to a dentist and she said they don't even normally look at their teeth until they are two. Maybe everyone is different but you might want to check.

Jen - posted on 09/10/2013

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My son is very independent too, but he is too young to understand the concept of teeth brushing yet. The washcloth trick works well though, thanks Stephanie! I now wipe his teeth with a cloth after each meal when I wipe his face (he hates it, but it's only for a few seconds and he is strapped into his highchair and can't escape), and I have been forcing the tooth brushing with a finger brush + some baby toothpaste at night. He cries and fights, but, as Kim said, it's better than cavities. Thanks for the advice, everyone. I was really hoping to avoid being forceful with him, but it doesn't look like he is giving me any other options. I made a dentist's appointment for him this week, I'm crossing my fingers he doesn't have tooth decay from my being too lenient with his oral hygiene. xx

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Lisa - posted on 09/10/2013

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Have you tried letting him do it? My daughter is super independent and she always wants to do things herself. See if he wants to do it.

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