What tooth brushing method works for your toddler?

Wendy - posted on 05/21/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )




My 13 month old throws a fit when I try to brush his teeth and cut his nails. Any ideas?


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Krista - posted on 05/21/2011




I do the same thing as Katie. I give him my toothbrush so that he can brush Momma's teeth, and then I brush his. Sometimes I'll also hold him up in front of the mirror, so that he can see his teeth being cleaned.

As far as nails go, I wait until something interesting is on TV, and will just sort of sit behind him, with him sitting in the vee of my legs. And I just take his hand and I'll count in a drawn-out way while clipping: "Ooooonnnnnne! Twoooooooo! Threeeee!, " as I do each nail.

Sometimes you have to do it like you do with dogs when trimming their nails. Just do one nail, and then let them go. If you keep it super short and sweet like that, he might realize that it's not so bad.

Elfrieda - posted on 05/21/2011




I used to make it a game, getting my 17month old to say Ahh, then rushing in to brush during the micro-second he had his mouth open. But he has lots of teeth, and I don't feel like I was doing a good job. So now I sit cross-legged on the sofa, have his head come over my ankles into my lap, and pin him down with my left hand while brushing with my right. He cries and hollers, but that just makes it easier to brush all his little teeth!
It doesn't seem to upset him too deeply, because as soon as I let him sit up and give him the toothbrush he chomps on it and "brushes" his teeth before losing interest.

For the nails, I don't know! It used to be that watching an Elmo & celebrity singalong would keep him still long enough to do his hands, but not anymore.

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I would brush my daughter's teeth then give her the brush to brush her own teeth. If she's really cranky I'll give her the brush first then finish brushing her teeth.

When she was getting her molars she HATED getting her teeth brushed since it hurt so bad. I then just used a warm wash cloth and lightly wiped her teeth avoiding the sore gums.

Katie - posted on 05/21/2011




yesterday I discovered that my son is way happier when I let him brush my teeth while I do his. I brush my own teeth and let him play with his toothbrush, then sit down on the floor and let him hold my brush and while hes smiling and kind of distracted I really get in there and give his little teeth a good scrub. It's not an easy task to pry their tiny mouths open if they dont want you too. Good luck!

Kimberly - posted on 05/21/2011




We started off when my daughter was 12 months and just let her play with the toothbrush in the bath. My husband or I would brush her teeth for about 20 seconds and then say, "Pippa do" and hand her the brush, then she'd play with it in her mouth for a few minutes, my husband would even brush his teeth while she was doing it so she could see that we do it too. At about 18 months we stopped doing it in the bath, right before bedtime we tell her "let's go brush our teeth" and she walks into the bathroom herself. We put the toothpaste on the brush and we brush her teeth for her at first, she'll open her mouth for us but she likes to bite down on the brush so sometimes we have to remind her to go "ahhhhh!" and when we're finished brushing we let her have a go herself and she usually just walks around the bathroom munching on the toothbrush.

Cutting nails is a different story. Usually she'll let me do two before she wants to get up and run around, she doesn't throw a fit, she just wants to go play. So I'll say, "let's cut our nails and then we can have a snack!" that usually does the trick for me. She'll sit there while I cut all her nails, and then afterwards she walks to her chair and she gets a small snack. I usually cut them around snack time anyway, so it's not a bonus :P

Hope this helps! :)

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