What do I need help with?
How do you brush a toddler’s teeth? It is like trying to brush a bouncing tennis ball (that cries and wiggles). Once that tooth brush is coming towards him, his mouth disappears into his face.
I really, really need the answer. My little boy has been sprouting teeth since he was 3 months old. To begin with it was simple; he would let me brush his little front teeth without much resistance and he even began to understand the instruction, “OPEN” (referring to his mouth, even though that also meant the washing machine, drawers, doors and shampoo bottles, but a promising start none-the-less).
Every time we head into the bathroom he gestures wildly towards the tooth brushes and toothpaste, and every single time I am so hopeful that he wants to brush his teeth, but no, he is tricking me every time and just wants to play, ‘teeth brushing.’ Then, I have to battle him to take the tube away when he tries to squirt toothpaste on the floor, or down the toilet. Today, my husband actually caught him fishing water out of the toilet bowl with the toothpaste box. He did not learn that from me.
Anyway, now, he has a full set of gnashes and, my god, I cannot get near them. People always comment on the lovely mouth of teeth he has, but all I want to reply with is,
“Yes, but do they look clean to you?”
But, I do not want to look like crazy case, so instead I laugh and say honestly,
“Let’s hope that’s nearly all of them, I need sleep.” Teeth are, actually, the answer to EVERYTHING!
Not sleeping = Teeth
Whining = Teeth
Cough = Teeth
Diarrhea = Teeth
Runny nose = Teeth
Crying all through lunch with friend = Teeth
Screaming through nappy change = Teeth
…and you get the idea.
Anyway, I am completely going off topic; this is turning into a bitter rant as I sit here all blurry eyed and exhausted from a 3am teething wake up call.
So, here are some of unconventional methods we have used to brush teeth and ARE UNSUCCESSFUL.
1) Try to gently open his mouth with a toothbrush, resulting in maybe brushing one tooth slightly.
2) Give him one tooth brush to hold to distract him and sneak his toothbrush in.
3) Give him two toothbrushes to hold to distract him and sneak his toothbrush in.
4) Tickle him so he does an open mouth laugh and quickly brush teeth for 2 seconds (repeat)
5) Wait patiently for him to open his mouth (This is the worst one of the lot).
6) Squirt toothpaste directly into toddler’s mouth (thinking that as long as tooth paste enters his mouth it counts, right?)
7) One person holds his arms down and other has to wrestle a toothbrush into a pursed mouth. (HOW does a 1 year old have such a strong jaw?)
8) Brush my own teeth, in the hope that he wants to copy me because it is such a cool thing to do. (Actually, this resulted in him hitting me in the mouth with a toothbrush numerous times).
9) Our current method – holding his arms down and holding his head still. Although it sounds like torture we are gentle and is our most successful yet (Do not judge.. please). Actually, as I re read this the next day he actually started laughing when Daddy held him tonight, so to him this dental hygiene is a big joke!
I was talking to parent one morning who informed me she had taken her little one year old to the dentist. I do not think I had a response. How….? How could a dentist physically open their mouth long enough to judge the state of their teeth? Instead, I responded, ” Oh really, I must do that soon.” (….in few years maybe…is that too long?)
I have read so many horror stories about babies teeth due to milk, juice, sugar; the usual culprits. So to stop me panicking… How do you brush a toddler’s teeth successfully?