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Help me solve this teeth brushing nightmare!

The mention of cutting fingernails reminded me of the battle DH and I are currently dealing with. Our 21 month old does not, ever, in ANY way, cooperate with having her teeth brushed.

She used to think it was fun to open up and say "Ahhh!" while we brushed her teeth, but one day it stopped. Now she will clamp her mouth shut, and if you try to weasel in there to brush her teeth, she will scream bloody murder. Even for a very brief rubdown of the teeth, we have to basically hold her down and let her scream for a minute.

We've tried playing games, using toothpaste, not using toothpaste, letting her 3yr old sister be an example, showing her how Mommy and Daddy brush their teeth,'s all futile!

Do you think she's teething, or just being difficult? Any ideas what might help?

Answer Question

Asked by aliceryannesmom at 2:54 PM on Sep. 12, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 20 (8,465 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • try letting her brush your teeth as you brush hers!
    Or you can tell her let mommy brush your teeth first then you can brush your own teeth ok!
    My dd started to get that way, thats how i managed to get her teeth brushed.

    Answer by mommylisar at 2:58 PM on Sep. 12, 2010

  • Have you tried letting her pick out her own toothbrush? An electric one? My 22 month old is currently using one that has a flashing handle - it flashes for 1 min (my older kids use these to help them know how long they need to brush, 2 rounds of flashes). It fascinates him, so he loves doing it and will ask to brush his teeth several times/day. Also - do you let her do it? I found that if I let my son "brush" his teeth (he mainly just chews on it) then I "check" (really brush) his teeth and tell him what a good job he did!

    Answer by missanc at 2:58 PM on Sep. 12, 2010

  • are u using electric or manual? there's a new brush I just saw at Target that comes w/ glitter and stickers and junk..... consider offering it to her to decorate?

    When my daughter around age 2 went thru a brushing strike we would bring the brush (electric) to the couch and snuggle up w/ a movie or show and fiddle with it while she was in tv coma and comfy/snuggly. then I'd say let's go spit and we'd pause the movie.... after spitting in the sink I'd say "ewwww I did a horrible job! stinky momma! i missed a spot, there's a chunk of dinosaur poop I missed" and other crazy silly things and would spent 20 seconds or less finishing up the job.... and gradually as the nights went by less time on couch and more over the sink. make it gradual, whatever u do. baby steps. kids that age love crazy things and tall tales and also anything dissing the parents. saying you did a terrible job might help, LOL, it helped me!

    Answer by hibbingmom at 3:00 PM on Sep. 12, 2010

  • Does she not like the toothpaste taste? Try letting her pick out her own brush and let her choose a small tube of toothpaste. Show by example and lots of praise when she finally opens her mouth for brushing

    Answer by soccerfanatic14 at 3:27 PM on Sep. 12, 2010

  • Really good ideas, thanks ladies!! I hadn't even thought about trying an electric brush...that might actually hold her attention/curiosity long enough to get something done! If nothing else, I can try letting her brush my teeth too. That's a great idea. I think she's just being ridiculously stubborn because she realized she can. Haha :)

    Comment by aliceryannesmom (original poster) at 3:28 PM on Sep. 12, 2010

  • My 2 year old son was the same way until we got an awesome little stepstool and now he can stand on it and brush his teeth like we do while he watches himself in the mirror. Not only has it stopped the big fight but he has become really good at brushing his teeth on his own. I still do a "clean sweep" when he's done but he opens wide without any problems......sometimes during playtime I find him in the bathroom brushing his teeth. :)

    Answer by jenellemarie at 3:42 PM on Sep. 12, 2010

  • Could your little one have a sensory issue? My son is living with autism, and is hypersensitive to anything that goes in his mouth. He uses a battery operated toothbrush that spins, and it took him a little time to get used to the feel, but now he uses it with very little trouble. I also agree with the idea of letting them choose their own toothbrush and maybe a flavor of toothpaste they will like. My son doesn't like mint, so we let him choose the bubblegum or fruit flavored kind. Good luck,Momma!

    Answer by Robsmommy at 4:36 PM on Sep. 12, 2010

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