I'm not sure which forum this goes in so please feel free to move it if I'm in the wrong spot!
My LO *hates* to have his teeth brushed. He's almost 15 months old and he has never liked it. It doesn't matter if it is with the finger brush or a regular brush, it doesn't matter if I let him play with one, I can't trick him or encourage him to do it. He doesn't care if there is teeth cleanser on it, and he doesn't care how much cheering or encouraging goes on. He just plain hates his mouth being messed with and has always hated it since he was born. Any ideas on how to show him that it isn't so bad? I try to be consistent but it is hard since he CRIES when I go to do it. I've tried a variety of brushing positions but nothing seems to work.
Don't know if this will work for you, but what worked for me was to give up. I tried everything that you mentioned with my daughter and she hated it. I even resorted to forcing it, which is NOT ME! Finally, at around 13 months, I gave up. I said forget it, I just won't brush this kid's teeth EVER. Then, guess what? She did it herself. Gladly and happily. I just remember brushing my teeth in front of her and her picking up the toothbrush and smiling and doing it. Good luck. If I can think of anything else, I wlll let you know.
My 3yo is the same way - at this age, I felt it was time to push the issue. We decided that we would brush his every night and he can choose to cooperate, or to cry while we do it. He's about 50/50. We are never mean or harsh with him, just matter of fact - "Time to brush your teeth - will you choose the easy way tonight, or the hard way?" He'll just say "I'm going to fight" (at this point, Daddy puts him on his lap, and he cries with his mouth wide open which frankly makes it very east to get the job done) or "I'm going to cooperate" (which means he sits next to me and whimpers and has a hard time keeping his tongue out of the way) and we brush his teeth, get it done and move on with the evening routine. The crying doesn't last, no one is upset with him, this is just the way he chose to have his teeth brushed this time. Hopefully we'll get better than 50/50 before too long, but I feel it needs to be done (health issue). Kindness with firmness is boss at our house!
I've been told that at this age it's most important to get them used to the idea, rather than the actually brushing. Even if he just chews on the toothbrush, it's a step in the right direction. My daughter used to hate it too when I brushed her teeth. I really lightened up with it, skipping a day here and there, letting her take as long as she wanted chewing on the toothbrush, letting her use gross bublegum flavored tooth paste...and now she's 2 1/2 and loves brushing. She even likes it when I brush them for her.
Oh do I know what you're going through!! My son was/is the same way! And I'm big on brushing teeth. It was aweful. Here's what worked for us, maybe you'll have some luck too. I would sit him on my lap and pull up teeth brushing videos on Youtube..primarily kids brushing and they have some great teeth brushing cartoons for kids. While he was engrossed in watching I'd brush his teeth. We've moved from that to turning on one of his fav. videos while I brush for as long as 5 mins!! I even got a kids electric tooth brush for him. I use non-floride toothpaste so he can swallow it. I found a good natural one by Tom's of Main. Seeing other kids on Youtube really helped and I always brush my teeth in front of him also. We also talked about it with his friends and cousins so he knows that they all brush their teeth every day also. hope this helps!!
Hi there...just wanted to let you know what has worked for us. I also let my DS (19 mos) sit on my lap and "brush" my teeth a few times. I would tell him "thank you so much for getting all the 'sugar bugs' off of Mama's teeth". He liked that Then I got him a spin brush to play with on himself. I would tell him that now he has to get the "sugar bugs" off of his teeth. Eventually he stopped playing with it and with a little bit of help, he happily brushes his teeth as long as he has the spin brush.
With my children, I let them brush their own teeth. I had them pick out their toothbrush, got the flavored non-flouride toothpaste, and then they run the brush under the water themselves, line up for the toothpaste, and brush their teeth. When they were younger, like 15 months old, they just chewed and sucked on the brush and I would follow up with a quick brushing. But, I let them take the lead.
I also brushed my teeth at the same time, so it was a family affair. Letting your kid brush your teeth is a great idea, too.
Some great suggestions! I must say I hate to use force also, but it came down to it. I was relieved to read Dr Sears in one of his books say essentially it's better to force it now than have a dentist force the drill later. I've seen video of the horrendous methods some pediatric dentists use, and heard stories from friends, and may I take this opportunity to encourage mothers not to ever let a dentist bully you out of the room! (do a search on 20/20)
So I forced the issue, gentle and kindly but firm. Now he's used to it and I will brush his teeth first and he will brush it second, because even at 3 he's not thorough enough to prevent cavities. We got him a spiderman toothbrush and I sing him a spiderman teeth cleaning song while I brush. I'd rather me make sure it's thorough than him be traumatized by a dentist just yet.
We have certainly been where you are! My poor DS needed extensive dental work done (under general anesthesia) when he was 24 months old and I was determined to promote healthy dental hygiene to prevent any further problems.
Here are all the things that we've done:
Watching youtube videos about teethbrushing, I especially like Crawford the Cat
Watching his friends who like having their teeth brushed
Singing silly songs about teeth
Having my family take pictures of themselves brushing their teeth
Talking about sugar bugs an what they do
Showing him pictures and videos of bacteria that lives in our mouth
Making a game of pretending there were animals (like rhinos or parrots) were in his mouth and we
had to brush them away
Chasing a sugar bug around his mouth
Letting him watch a short video about teethbrushing while brushing hid teeth
Buying books about teethbrushing
Buying an electric toothbrush
Letting him pick out his toothbrushes and replacing them frequently to keep it more interesting
Sadly there were days we eventually had to use force. I hated to do that but getting his teeth brushed was something I couldn't compromise on. Brushing teeth and sitting in his carseat are two things I don't negotiate about.
I was careful to never scare him or threaten him with the dentist or decay, but I did explain that sugar bugs like to try to eat our teeth so we need to brush them away to keep our teeth healthy. I was also careful to edit the text in books to take away any shaming.
We make a game of it. W/ my DD, I'd say, "Do you have a dog in your mouth?? " I'd make a few "woof" sounds and she'd giggle.., "Here...let Mommy see how many dogs you have in there" That game progressed to a wide variety of animals in her mouth. I've heard some kids like to look for Elmo in mom's mouth too.
I tried this same tactic on my younger son when it he got his teeth and it never worked. I was frustrated. I tried the TV and laying him down upside down (he LOVES to be upside down) and that worked for a while, but then ceased to work. Then I tried something that I know he loves. Dump-trucks. I asked him if he had a 'Dump Truck' in his mouth. BINGO! that worked. We make honking noises, beeping noises and brushing his teeth is now a breeze.
Think of games that get him to open his mouth. I've at times, had him use a toothbrush and I had one too (2 of them going in his mouth at the same time) I've let him brush mine, while I'm brushing his.
W/ my 3yr DD she has always been more independent (think, "I DO IT MYSELF") so the rule has always remained...you have your turn and mommy/daddy has their turn. This also worked well for helping her to understand the concept of taking turns w/ toys when around other children...
I often suggest asking the child "Let me know when you're ready", and then allowing him to take whatever time he needs. Even children who have always strongly resisted brushing have then brought the toothbrush to the parent. Children need to feel they have choices. This is especially true if there have been changes in the child's life that he had no choice about, such as a new sibling or a family move.
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