Does anyone have suggestions for getting toddlers into brushing their teeth? I feel like I end up holding mine in a headlock every day just to get their teeth clean. I have tried taking turns, where I brush them and then they brush them. I have tried brushing my teeth with them. I have gotten the fun toothbrushes and toothpaste. I am getting very frustated with fighting about this everyday.
find pictures of adults with very bad teeth and tell the kids if they don't take care of brushing thier teeth everyday this is what they will look like.
Ah yeah, I used to have to do that. What I did is that I got several tooth brush choices, and tooth pastes and then I let her choose. Brushing her teeth is absolutely NOT a choice that I let her make. We have it as a habit now and do it immediately after meals, so that it has just become a part of eating a meal. Now, sometimes, she will be really upset over it, and I say, "who is going to brush your teeth, will it be me or you".....because one of us is going to do it. I give her a minute or two and then I say, "okay, if you aren't going to, then I am going to", and then reach for the tooth brush. If she is angry enough, she shouts, "NO!" and then I say again, "okay, if you don't want me to, then you can", and I hand her the tooth brush. She seems contented with that and brushes.
This used to be a daily battle, but things are better now.
Usually just getting to choose the tooth brush and tooth paste satisfies her. Most of the time she will be rough on days where she didn't get enough sleep.
Hope this helps!
Last edited by relocatednyc; 09-15-2008 at 11:00 PM.
My 3 year old has the same problem It took almost a year to get him to brush regularly and he would scream as though you were trying to kill him. I had to keep reminding him that if he did not brush his teeth that they would be dirty, fall out, and he would not be able to eat anything but babyfood. I had to draw a bathroom chart and tell him he could get a sticker every time he brushes his teeth, washes his hands, etc. I let him know that when he fills up a line on the chart he will get a prize and if he fills up the whole chart with stickers, he gets a big prize. He just gets excited to pick out his own sticker.
Wow, from my dentist's reaction, I was thinking I was the only parent with this problem. My son is 3, and I still have to brush for him. (He just spits out the toothpaste and then chews on the toothbrush if I let him do it!) I've found that bribery works wonders. For the longest time, I would bribe him with getting to do something fun like play outside, finger paint, etc. Then he discovered mint flavored floss. He LOVES it. So, all I have to say is "Let's go brush your teeth, and then you can floss." He goes running for the bathroom every time.
My DD loves to brush with me, so I fix up both of our toothbrushes and we both brush. After that - she loves the toothpaste - I "let" her have more toothpaste if she lets me brush her teeth that time.
It's become routine now - I used to do the headlock thing too - Now she's got the jist of doing it herself (she's 29 months), and the extra toothpaste seems a fair trade to my brushing after her so I can make sure she's all clean.
I had started brushing my son's teeth as soon as the first teeth popped out. Now that he is 2 we kinda make a game out of it. I will tell him meet me at the bathroom and we will brush his teeth and wash his hands. Because he loves the foam soap he will rush to the bathroom and we brush first then wash hands. We bought him a dr. seuss brush and he doesn't mind. Most of the time I will let him brush and then finish up for him. He loves mimicking me and does what I do, he even likes trying to spit.
I let my dd pick her toothbrush and take her time brushing. I still help her with the back teeth she has a hard time with those. It seemed that as soon as I took the fight out of it she just quit fighting me too. Now granted there are nights when she will spend 5 minutes brushing but that is easier than fighting her and making us both grumpy.
I brushed my son's gums every day, even before he had teeth. A routine helps, that way the child knows it's coming. If you do things the same way every day, they seem less negotiable to a child. Even then, my son went through a phase when he didn't want me to brush his teeth, he wanted to do it, but he lacked understanding and motor skills necessary to complete the task to standard. Then we went through the headlock thing. Honestly, I don't know anyone who hasn't. Now my son is very much entertained when he gets his teeth brushed with an electric toothbrush.
My kids weren't really into brushing, until I started incorporating them into my morning routine. They watched me put on my make up and brush my teeth. They don't like me to do it, so I put some baby toothpaste on a brush and give it to them. They probably aren't getting them "clean", but they are getting experience. Plus, I wouldn't be able to clean them wrestling around with them- so it works. We'll work on the mechanics when they get older.
Mom of twin girls, age 3, and a new baby boy born in January!