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Any suggestions on brushing a toddler's teeth? I have tried letting her brush mine and using multiple toothbrushes, including the spinning type.”

8 replies so far...

  • Brush your teeth with your child so she can see you doing it. You can look for more tips on the website of my daughter's dentist. I hope this helps!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MommyLady on 3rd June 2011

  • We had a cavity scare a few months ago...but it turned out it wasn't cavities. The dentist gave me pointers on how to hold her so that I could brush really well. It was awful the first few days because she fought me so hard (as a 13 month old will), but now almost three months later she really likes getting her teeth brushed and I don't have to hold her down anymore. If you can do anything to avoid holding them down, I would, but if you just can't get cooperation, there is a way. You can lay them down on the floor or bed and sit down near their head. Hold the arms down by putting your legs over them and then use one hand to open their mouth and the other to brush.

    I felt sooo bad doing that. It was only a few days that she cried about it though. After a week she would just lay down for me and let me do it. I think she just had to learn that tooth brushing was nonnegotiable...and at such a young age it was difficult to communicate that any other way.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by mamajama on 7th October 2008

  • I am having the same problem - and have even posted in this forum before looking for answers. My toddler (now almost 2) hates us to go near her mouth and we have to force her to let us brush her teeth. We have tried everything: tiny brushes, bigger brushes, a Dora electric brush, Baby Einstein brush, different toothpastes, including Thomas paste. I bought an Elmo book about brushing teeth - it's a pop-up with a toy toothbrush attached so the toddler can act out the brushing and hopefully get used to the idea. I have checked out every library board book about brushing teeth. I have torn out ads from parenting magazines that show kids brushing teeth and encourage her to play with them. My husband and I have brushed out own teeth in front of her, we've brushed each others' teeth in front of her, we've hammed it up to make her laugh, we've toned it down at times too hoping subtlety would help. No success so far. Oh, and recently we had her 4 year old friend brush teeth in front of her and that MAY have helped. I need to ask her to do that again for us. Anyway, these are all the things we've tried. Maybe some of them will work for you. Whatever you do, if something does work please let me know so I can try it!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 6th October 2008

  • I had my kids look at me brush morning and evening. Then I took them to the store and had them pick their toothbrushes, Disney Princess for my daughter, Winnie the Pooh for my son. They also each picked their own toddler toothpaste: Disney Princess for my daughter, little bear for my son. I usually hate advertising and the use of brands but this worked like a charm. Now they both brush their teeth twice a day. I have to make them stop!!!!!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by FrenchMama on 5th October 2008

  • We brush together. My baby loves to imitate what I do so that works for my advantage. When she sees me brushing , she tries to do the same. She uses a toddler toothbrush and flavored toothpaste...It also help to do action song about toothbrushing.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Gin E on 5th October 2008

  • At night, I get my kids when they are sitting on the potty - captive - and sing the ABC's while I brush. They know how long the ABC song is, so they know how finite the brushing will be. Once done, I let them have the brushes for a minute to "finish" on their own. I am pretty sure I don't need the "captive" approach any more, now that they are used to the routine. They enjoy it. I use a fruit-flavored baby toothpaste, and regular child-sized toothbrushes. I also floss with those plastic fruit-flavored flossers, counting to 7 for the top teeth and 7 for the bottom (they both have just 16 teeth). In the morning, I give them their toothbrushes to brush while I brush my own teeth. They like doing whatever I'm doing.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 5th October 2008

  • I make a game out of it. In his room I say, "I'll race you to the bathroom!" He runs there and then brushes himself. He uses a spinning toothbrush and baby toothpaste. Maybe have her pick out her own toothbrush at the store? That worked with my daughter.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Pam on 3rd October 2008

  • My dentist gave me a toothbrush with a round handle (like those lollipops with loop handles) for my son to use. It's easy to hold so he doesn't get frustrated or try to choke himself. Are you putting baby toothpaste on? That seems to work well. His goal is to suck off the toothpaste, but it gets the brush in his mouth.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by BrendaG on 3rd October 2008