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How can we avoid the "drama" of brushing our daughter's teeth?

My husband and I have the hardest time getting our 3 year old daughter to brush her teeth. We have tried letting her do it but all she did was suck on the toothbrush like it was a lolipop so then we started to do it, we have also talked to her about why it is important for this to be done. But no matter what when it is time to brush her teeth she throws a fit - to the point of her screaming and crying over it.

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Asked by metivoli at 4:05 PM on Dec. 2, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (8)
  • For my youngest son the only was to avoid tears was one of those irritating musical toothbrushes.

    Answer by Gealach at 4:06 PM on Dec. 2, 2009

  • I got my son to sit still for just a bit (he's two and a half) by singing the Thomas the Tank Engine song, and telling him the toothbrush was the train, his teeth the track. You could try some varient of that.

    My mom suggested I get two brushes, one for me, one for him. Let your DD know that mommy brushes the teeth, and if she sits still when mommy is all done she gets to brush her own teeth all by herself like a big girl. That way you know they're clean but she is satistfied at getting to help.
    Good luck!

    Answer by ethans_momma06 at 4:08 PM on Dec. 2, 2009

  • Unfortunately is one of those things that needs to be done regardless of the struggle. Think about it like if it isn't done a visit to the dentist or worst a dentist working on her carveries will be more difficult on her. Eventually once she realizes that no matter what her teeth will get brushed she will accept it as part of her routine. Our son is almost four and just now it is starting to become easier to brush his teeth. Good luck and keep up the good work.

    Answer by bebita at 4:09 PM on Dec. 2, 2009

  • i always let my son (2 1/2 years) brush his teeth first. then we would do it. at first everything was fine, then he started throwing a huge fit as well. So, we started to tell him we needed to "tickle" his teeth with the toothbrush. it worked for us. Now he brushes them, and we "tickle" when he is done.

    Good Luck

    Answer by mereinhart28 at 4:16 PM on Dec. 2, 2009

  • We have the same problem with our 2 1/2 yr old. I give him the opportunity to do it himself for a little (yes, he msotly sucks on the toothbrush) then my husband or I take over. If he cooperates, great. If he doesn't, I lie him down on the floor with his head between my legs, hold his arms (or put them under my legs to keep them out of the way) and brush. Sometimes simply looking at me upside down is funny and he'll giggle or I'll make funny noises while I brush. Other times, he screams and I brush. My pediatrician recommended this approach. Eventually they start to realize the battle isn't worth it since their teeth have to be brushed.

    Answer by momofryan07 at 7:25 PM on Dec. 2, 2009

  • Well if you do bath-time at night what I have always found to be the most effective is to brush them at night in the bathtub, let some of the water trickle from the faucet and they always have fun spitting in tub, sounds gross, however thru three kids (12, 9, 5) and no cavities (knock on wood) always worked for me. Most dentists will tell you that your teeth are most vulnerable for cavities at night time if you do not get the sugar, excess food, and plaque build up from during the day off. And for morning try just some ACT rinse.
    Its at least worth a try! Good luck.

    Answer by gabbybrannan at 9:35 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • I had this problem with DD. We do it every night now so she struggles less and less. I would have to hold her down, while she cried and screamed while I brushed her teeth (I never hurt her or yelled at her though). It has to be done but it got easier and she realized she wasn't getting out of it.


    Answer by MotherofIreland at 11:02 PM on Dec. 5, 2009

  • have you tried letting her pick out the toothbrush and toothpaste? I started with a gum cleaner when mine was a baby and she loves brushing her teeth. I always brush them first myself and then let her do it. Yea, she just sucks the toothpaste off but I was told that its still better than nothing because her saliva will still swish the toothpaste around in her mouth. Also, try brushing your teeth with her....turn it into a game, shee who can finish the first, my daughter loves brushing her teeth with me and when she ses me do it, she mimicks me and brushes everywhere i do! If no luck, try talking to a dentist to see what they recommend. good luck to you!

    Answer by CTC7122006 at 2:50 PM on Dec. 12, 2009

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