What should I do about my toddler's teeth brushing tantrums?

My little girl is 17 months old and she abolutely HATES getting her teeth brushed. I ususally end up pinning her down and forcing her mouth open to brush her teeth. It makes me feel so horrible to do that to her, but I would feel even worse if she started having problems from not brushing. I use a tiny little bit of toothpaste, so it isn't that. What should I do?


Asked by ashlyh123 at 10:02 PM on Jan. 13, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (7)
  • What kind of toothpaste is it? My kids hate the mint flavored so I have to find the bubble gum or berry flavors. Have you tried singing to her while doing it? Maybe she wants to try it herself? My daughter is Miss Independent and will throw a fit if I try to help her with anything.

    Answer by ReneeK3 at 10:04 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

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  • i've tried different flavors. i dont think it is the toothpaste. i start with her as nice as can be. she used to be ok with it. she doesnt want to open her mouth now and wont hold her head still

    Answer by ashlyh123 at 10:09 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

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  • Be sure the toothpaste is flouride free. She shouldn't have flouride paste until late 3's or 4.

    And I've been there. There were times around that age that I pretty much had to lay on my daughter to contain her arms and legs, while gently pinching her nose closed with one hand so she HAD to open her mouth, and doing a quick brush with the other hand. But those times passed and she learned that (a) she wasn't going to win the battle and (b) it wasn't so bad.

    My suggestions:
    Hang in there and yes - brushing her teeth is a health issue. Some force is fine.
    Praise, praise, praise any little bit of cooperation.
    Let her brush her teeth first (or last). "Helping" makes her feel grown-up.
    Let her brush your teeth.
    Have two different colored toothbrushes and let her pick which color to use.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 10:29 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

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  • I always let my son "play" with his toothbrush. He's crawl around chewing on the bristles and then when i'm ready to brush his teeth i'll let him hold it while I brush them. I got the Grins & Giggles toothpaste that's mixed berry flavored I think and he loves it. Maybe try taking her with you when you brush yours to show her that it's fun.

    Answer by bassyentihw at 10:43 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

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  • Buy her a special toothbrush with a charater she loves on it and some bubble gum flavored toothpaste. Let her chew on the toothbrush and hold it herself at a time you are not going to brush her teeth.....do that daily until she gets used to having it in her mouth. Next, come up with some silly brushing song and do it with your own toothbrush in your mouth while letting her hold hers. Ease into helping her brush while you sing and smile.

    Answer by deedee3849 at 11:03 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

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  • i had the SAME EXACT PROBLEM. i had to pin my son down to get him to brush his teeth. so i came on here and asked for people's help and they told me to brush my teeth with my son. or try the little electric toothbrush.

    Answer by exxOHjackie at 12:28 AM on Jan. 14, 2009

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  • Crazy enough as it is, my DS is only 22 (almost 23) months, and I got him a Crest spin brush for kids. He LOVES to brush his teeth now. He moves it around his teeth and is happy. Plus, I think the taste of his new tooth paste (training toothpaste) helps too.

    My son HATED getting his teeth brushed my yours truly, until I got him the battery one for Christmas. Now, he asked all the time to brush his teeth.

    Answer by MommieAnya0220 at 1:26 AM on Jan. 14, 2009

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