8 answers

Brushing Teeth for a 16 Month Old

Hi everyone. I'm hoping I can get some advice on how to brush my son's teeth. He is 16 months old and has full mouth of teeth! His been a big baby since birth and he is strong!!! Even the pediatrician's office had 3 people hold him down one day just to clean his ears.

So the problem is that he fights me every time I try to brush his teeth. I've tried using the finger brush, and infant tooth brush, even a cloth, and different toothpastes, nothing works. My fiance and I show him when we brush over teeth and try and make it fun but it has no effect on him.

His teeth are starting to look a little yellow and you can tell he's getting some build up around his gums. A couple times I have my fiance hold him down and I try to brush them but he bites and screams.

It's difficult because he's not at the age that explaining anything would help. He doesn't understand why we have to brush his teeth. I just don't know what to do. I know there's a dentist for children near by my house but I don't know how the dentist would get any better results. PLEASE HELP!!! I had cavities at a young age and I don't want the same thing for my son.

Does anyone know of any educational movies that show kids how to brush their teeth? I've found ones for potty training, getting dressed, etc. but none for brushing teeth.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I went ahead a bought a battery operated character tooth brush anyway even though it was recommended for 3 years and up. He really likes it but still doesn't brush with it, but I'm very hopeful. Thank you all for at least making me feel better about the situation.

Featured Answers

Hi V.....I have the same exact problem with my 16 month old son. So I hope that someone responds with some good advice to help us both out.

More Answers

I have 21-month-old twin boys and had the same problem trying to brush their teeth. I just recently bought them automatic toothbrushes (the kind that you push the button and it "spins". I got them in characters they like, so now we say
"Elmo and Thomas are waiting to help you brush." It's been so easy since getting them to brush. We brush first, then let them hold it for a minute and do it themselves. :)

I still have the same problem with my 30 month old. My husband holds him down every night and I brush his teeth. Unfortunately, you just have to do it. We hardly ever use his regular toothbrush. We use an electric one. Sometimes I use the infant one and sometimes I use the bigger one. I've never had any problems with the infant one. I want to say it's an Oral B and they always have some kind of character on them. I know it brushes more gently, but we make sure to brush for as long as we can. It's better than not brushing them at all:) Good luck!

Hi. My son Kevin, who is 2 1/2 now, has sensory issues and has ALWAYS hated having his teeth brushed. One thing that helped us was I let him brush my teeth. Give him your toothbrush, and let him brush your teeth, while watching in the mirror. Sometimes it turns into a game, like playing. "you get Mommie's front teeth, I'll get yours!".

Just a thought. I hope it gets better! Kevin still won't brush his own teeth, but puts up with me brushing them.

Good luck!

--C. B. in Odessa

Hi V.
I have an 18 month old son what has worked for me is giving him control. Since he was about a year old, every morning I brush my teeth, I let him sit on the vanity in front of me(that is his incentive, because I do not let him sit up there unless he is brushing his teeth), I got him his own tooth brush and paste. I set up the tooth brush and I give it to him. He chews on it while I brush my teeth (which is better than nothing) He tries to copy me as we look at each other in the mirror. Then when I am done. I say, "can Mommy brush your teeth, and I make funny noises as I try to brush them. He doesnt always let me get all of them, but I dont force it.
I think at this age there is a power struggle, because they do not completely understand. Anyway, I hope that helps. Good luck.

Hi V.....I have the same exact problem with my 16 month old son. So I hope that someone responds with some good advice to help us both out.

Maybe try letting him pick out a character battery operated tooth brush that he will use daily. And you just brush his teeth once a week or so. At least that way they are getting brushed and he is getting experience brushing. I think the battery powered toothbrushes are better at cleaning kids teeth anyway.

How about setting a specific date that he will start "brushing his teeth like a big boy", that way he will be prepared & it will seem like something to look forward to instead of a fight & something he hates. Make a really big deal about letting him pick out his own tooth brush & tooth paste. Get a treat jar w/cheap silly toys in it & tell him that everytime he goes for three days brushing his teeth like a big boy then he gets to pick a treat. Make sure you make teeth brushing fun for him b/c so far its been horrible & to him its something bad. Good luck!

Hi V..
Unfortunately I have the same problem with my daughter who is now 2 and a half. I do have to hold her down kicking and screaming to be able to brush her teeth. She hates it but it has to be done. When I took her to her first dentist appointment they told me that I would just have to hold her down and do it and thats what I do. She cries for about 5 minutes after and than she is fine. It sucks to have to do that but she is not in any paain or anything she just doesnt like to have to do this. Sorry you are going through thsi as well.

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