Toddler Toothbrushing

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Toddler Toothbrushing

    OK
    So I will be so excited and grateful if I get just once piece of helpful advice from you lovely ladies that even marginally improves the toothbrushing situation in our house.  However, I think the thing I'm actually looking for is your absolution and reassurance that I'm not permanently damaging my daughter's chance at nice teeth haha.

    So the toothbrushing is an ordeal.  I didn't stress too much about how much she hated it when she only had a few teeth--plus, she hated it less back then.  Now that she has 16 teeth and full-on morning breath in the mornings, I'd have to be completely oblivious/in denial if I thought she didn't need to brush her teeth. 

    My husband and I, in a tag-team effort that leaves me in awe of any single parents, parents of more than one child, or parents of larger toddlers, manage to get her to brush her teeth eventually.  We let her brush her own teeth (not very effective, but she loves it), we ply her with baby toothpaste (worth a few swipes, then she clamps down on the toothbrush until all the toothpaste is swallowed), we convince her to let DH brush her teeth while I sing the alphabet (worth a few more swipes, depending on her mood), and we let her brush my teeth with my toothbrush while I brush her teeth with her toothbrush (usually successful, but doesn't seem to work on its own without all the previous steps).
    Anyway, the point is that this takes anywhere between 25 and 35 minutes.  Therefore, it only happens at night before bed.  I always feel a little guilty in the morning when I smell her terrible toddler morningbreath and just give her a banana and send her off to day care. 
    Has anyone had any success with any toothbrushing techniques we ahven't thought of?  If not, can anyone reassure me her teeth aren't going to rot out of her head?  My husband and I both have pretty crooked teeth naturally, so braces are probably in her future.  I'd rather not have to pay for lots of fillings too.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Toothbrushing was a non-negotiable for us. I know a couple of parents who didn't want to fight about it and their kids ended up with mouthfuls of cavities, and I didn't want a ruthless toothless kid. We brush our daughter's teeth after every meal. I thought it would be easy because we started with a soft cloth before she had teeth and then moved to a finger brush from when she got her first tooth around 4 months. But once she could fight us she did. She fought hard and valiently. I found that switching to Tom's of Maine strawberry toothpaste helped a LOT, as did getting her a Dora toothbrush. But mostly it was a war of attrition -- we kept at it and eventually she gave up. For a long, long time toothbrushing consisted of one of us pinning her arms and then, when she screamed, cramming the brush into her mouth and rubbing it around. Then one day she just stopped fighting and let us do it. It was weird. I went to pin her down and she rested her head lovingly against my face (I was trying to pin her head back with my chin) and went, "mmmmm, thank you mommy. I love you mommy." And it's been very pleasant pretty much ever since. She even lets us brush her tongue. So I would say to stick with it. I would not let her drag it out for so long -- it just prolongs the misery for everyone. Her daycare legally has to brush her teeth -- how do they accomplish it?
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    it's a struggle to get DS to brush his teeth. We sing a little brush your teeth song before we got to the bathroom to get him excited. Then he gets to chose which toothbrush he uses-he has 2 to choose from.  I gave him his own travel size tube to tooth paste (flouride I know-but he doesn't really get any of it on the toothbrush, it's more of an action for him). Then I take the other tooth brush and put the flouride free tooth paste on and after having him brush his teeth for a few minutes, DH pins his arms and suspends him over the sink like he's flying and I brush his teeth, tongue and top of mouth. If DH isn't there then I sit on the toilet and pin DS' legs with mine and pin his arms and brush while he cries and screams. I don't make the brushing last more than 5 min.

    In the AM I'm a little more relaxed with the regimine, he get's to do the entire brushing. basically since we don't have the full amount, or hands on deck, of time to do the song, picking tooth brushes etc.

    I refuse to buy sweet tasting toothpaste-I don't want DS to get used to that. And he hates the fennel flavor of our flouride free so he's gotten pretty good at spitting it out!
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from SarahInActon. Show SarahInActon's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    We started toothbrushing the minute a tooth appeared.  I'm with Lemon, its non negotiable.  We got an awesome set from MAM (off amazon but can't choose the colors and we keep getting pink, oh well).  It has two brushes and one has a super long handle so I can let DS brush and I can kind of guide him with the bottom of the handle.  He can hold onto the smaller brush and that usually keeps him distracted.  Sometimes he clamps down and just wants to s>ck off the paste.  I look at brusing as cumulative over a few days.  If it doesn't go well in the AM, we beef it up for the PM, etc.

    We brush with fluoride in the AM and non fluoride in the PM.  We also sing the Raffi tooth brusing song and he really loves it.  I also try and brush at the same time so he gets into brushing my teeth for me and likes to mimic my husband and I.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from SAW73. Show SAW73's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    We been struggling with this too!  I have now found I can brush the tops and bottoms twice before clamping and s>cking of toothpaste.  But right now we stick to brushing once a day before bed and unless he has meat stuck in the gaps between his teeth or has had something sweet or sticky, I happy with a quick brush.

    DS stands on his stool at the bathroom sink, I stand behind him, capture the back of his head under my left arm and hold his forehead with my left hand while brushing with right.  I will admit he is allowed to play with the faucets &/or tube of toothpaste and has a gum massager that gets splashed under the running water. 


    For some reason, I have found holding his head still from his forehead really works and he's really until splashing these days Smile

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    We still brush at the  high chair after meals. Our kitchen and bathroom sinks aren't really toddler-accessible. I'm also afraid of what will happen when she discovers the joys of spitting.

    When is one supposed to switch to fluoride toothpaste, anyway? We live in the city so we have fluoride in the water.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from beniceboston. Show beniceboston's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Correct me if I'm wrong, because I would like clarification on this - is brushing at this stage mainly to promote good dental hygiene when they get older? Or do we really have to worry if their teeth are not really getting brushed?

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    I think that rubbing the gums with a cloth after nursing or bottle-feeding is more to form good habits in the parent. But our ped said to start with a soft finger brush once she got a tooth and to switch to a toothbrush when she started biting our fingers. That's for actual plaque removal.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Our problem is she used to be more cooperative.  This is a newfound rebelliousness, based largely in her determination to do it all herself.  I feel like, as far as forming habits go, we're going to be all set once she's old enough to actually brush her teeth effectively.  The trouble is, she is so hell-bent on doing it herself and resists help. 
    I have a feeling that she is more cooperative at daycare.  Plus, they probably just brush enough to say they've brush.  We're trying to actually be thorough. 
    Also, about 1/5 of the time she's cooperative.  So we relax and think, "ok, it's going better" but then she just steels herself for a bigger fight next time.  If it were up to her, she'd brush her teeth for 2 hours a day.  She loves brushing her own teeth.  Unfortunately, this involves a lot of tongue brushing and chewing and not much actual plaque removal.  I'm worried if I get to totalitarian with the pinning her down and forcing her to let me brush I'll just succeed at making her hate brushing her own teeth later. 

    Maybe I'll just let her brush her own teeth in the morning and then save the struggle for the evening and hope that between her own brushing in the morning and the daycare brushing she's cumulatively getting enough. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from SarahInActon. Show SarahInActon's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    My pedi wanted us to start brushing right away (at first tooth) and that's what I hear from the pediatric dentists as well.  It seems to be mostly a good habit sort of thing but DS has the stinkiest breath after he eats bruchetta or olives so we brush for that too! 

    I know there is floride in the water supply here in Acton but DS usually drinks milk and seltzer water so he's not getting much of the town's water supply.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    My DD also loves "brushing" her teeth, herself, but it is mainly chewing on the brush and brushing her tongue. I have found that either saying "we are taking turns, and now it's Mommy's turn" or "teamwork" are the magic words to letting me get a few swipes in. Plus I have to narrate "Now I'm brushing the top teeth, now I'm doing the sides, etc."
    I'm pretty sure "teamwork" is something that gets said alot at daycare. It works often enough to be magic for me. If she wants to do something herself, but I say "teamwork" magically she will let me help her. It is awesome. I hope it never loses its power.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    What's gonna work? TEAM-WORK!
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from hughkona. Show hughkona's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    2 words: ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH!! I thought of this one day and it was genious.  She doesn't like the "tickling" of the spin brush on her front teeth, but she gets over it and we make a joke of it.  I also tell her all the food she is getting off "lets get your milk off your teeth... now lets get that banana.... oh! a little longer for the bread!" etc.  It keeps her mind occupied.  Sometimes I even pull the brush out so she can shout out a food/drink she's had.

    Don't get me wrong, she HATES it and runs covering her mouth when we come.  But like the other posters said, it is not negotiable.  As her parent, I have to do what's safe for her.  And I have been told that now-a-days kids end up with TONS of fillings in their baby teeth because of the highly processed/sugared foods out there and lack of brushing.  When I feel guilty, I consider a dentist holding her down to drill her teeth, and it breaks my heart.

    After I get my turn doing the spin brush, with tons of positivitey as I hold her down.... then she gets a turn, and with the spin brush, she actually does a pretty decent job!!
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from beniceboston. Show beniceboston's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    I second the electric toothbrush suggestion.

    I went to the dentist today and I asked him about the whole toothbrushing - he said twice per day - let them hold one toothbrush and do what the want with it and then use an electric spin brush - that way you just have to put it in their mouth and it'll do the work for you.

    He also said that most kids need their parents to brush their teeth until about age 8 (he has two kids so I'm sure he speaks from experience).

    We bought a spin brush today and DD thought it was pretty cool (we have electric toothbrushes ourselves and she's always watching us and interested in them).
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    By the way, I have a sonicare, and that tickling sensation goes away within a couple of weeks of regular use (it even mentions it and how you can expect it to go away in the literature that comes with the brush so it must be really common). 
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from culhasa. Show culhasa's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Lemonmelon - I'm laughing out loud! 
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Lostgrouse. Show Lostgrouse's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Our DD has become really great at mimicing our bedtime routine.  We give her a toothbrush with flouride free toothpaste on it and let her brush hers while we brush ours.  Then I take a different toothbrush and brush her teeth with it.  We ask her to say "ahh" and she opens wide, "eee" for the fronts, and she's just really good with it.  We took her to the dentist back in November for the first time (she's 2.5 now) and she did great.

    I agree that just one day it was better.  She used to fight, and now she doesn't.  
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    We just took DS to the dentist today, her rule is that parents need to help their kids brush their teeth until they can write in cursive.

    Unfortunately she didn't have any helpful advice on how to do the brushing with DS. But once a day of us really getting in and brushing, and him doing two other times a day is good enough.

    One helpful thing she did mention if DS consumed an entire tube of flouride toothpaste that's when it would cause a problem. a pea sized dollop on the toothbrush now, even if he doesn't spit well, will be fine.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Was she specific about what she meant by helping a third grader brush his or her teeth?
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Kar-our dentist mentioned that kids are good with brushing their front teeth, but forget/slack with the back teeth and they need the help to get them.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    I will second that, when my son was in third grade last year he did great on the front but just skimmed the back and then I did those for him.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Ah, that makes sense - out of sight, out of mind!
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    For a long time, I brushed my nephew's teeth for him once a day and he did the other (like up until he was 8).  Otherwise there is no way those suckers were actually getting clean!

    What is the concern with flouride toothpaste?  I know it's bad if a small child swallows too much of it... But at the same time, some doctors recommend giving kids tap water because it has flouride in it.  Confusing.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    Fluoride in mega doses can be poisonous (like a toddler eating a whole tube of toothpaste, or drinking a bottle of fluoride mouthwash). Too much fluoride (not mega , but more than you would normally use to brush your teeth, or swallowing the "normal" amount of mouthwash) can over time cause spots to form on developing teeth. So it is a concern for children, whose teeth are still developing.
    The conundrum comes from needing some fluoride to make teeth stronger, and less prone to cavities, without going overboard and getting too much, which can cause fluorosis.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Toddler Toothbrushing

    I think it's kind of like garlic for dogs, although Amy-lynn covered it nicely.  Our dog food contains garlic for its health properties, but in large doses it's deadly to dogs.  (Good thing not for people or I'd have killed me and DH last weekend with my marinara!)  I actually called the dog food company and asked about its being there since I knew garlic and onions are on the no-no list for dogs, and they explained that they knew what they were doing, lol.
     

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