20 answers

Tooth Brushing for a 16Mo Old

Hi,
I have a 16 mo old daughter and we're having some issues with dental hygiene. I used to let her do most of the brushing, but then I was pretty horrified to discover that the tops (area closest to her gum) of her front teeth were discolored and not getting brushed at all. The past few nights my husband and I have been trying to do a better job of brushing them, but our daughter gets really upset and one of us ends up having to hold her down while the other one brushes. I don't want to make tooth brushing into anything scary, or any sort of issue down the line, but I really need to get those teeth clean. Does anyone have any ideas for how we can make tooth brushing time a peaceful (and thorough) activity?
Thanks in advance for you help

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Featured Answers

My 19th month old loves to use my tooth brush. I would brush my teeth while she brushed hers. Then she would pick up mine and brush with it. The catch is I have an electric tooth brush. Sense she liked mine so much i went and bought her one too. She is not scared b/c she sees mommy do it. Now she loves to go brush her teeth. Good luck. S.

cant remember how I did it with my kids but just a suggestion maybe you could try getting one of those toothbrushes that sing a song to make it more of something she wants to do! being that she is still young you might have to keep helping her but at least she might want to look forward to hearing the song!It might work! My kids are older but love their toothbrushes!

More Answers

With my oldest, we'd play a little game of turns. "Ok, Jake's turn is first. Brush and brush and brush and brush. Now it's mommy's turn to brush!" Then, I repeated the "brush and brush" part for my turn. If I needed more time to go back in there, I'd give him another turn, then me, etc. until I was satisfied. Maybe even throw daddy into the rotation! For some reason though, my singing out that part made him feel like it was a little game and fostered his independence. Have fun and good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

We started out by brushing my 2 1/2 year old daughter's teeth ourselves when she got her first one. What works for us now is when we're done with the initial brushing, we then let her finish up herself. And we have a mirror sitting on the counter that she can see into while standing on her stool. Also, we did take her for her first dental visit at 2. Since then when she tries to fuss about it we tell her "the dentist said Mommy/Daddy has to brush first, then you". So far that's working.

I take turns with my 2 year old. First I brush his teeth, then he does. At first, he fought this pretty hard.

I went to the store and bought a large box of cheap toys. Then, each time the toothbrushing went smoothly, he got a "Tooth Brush Prize". He liked that, and by the time we ran out of prizes, they were no longer needed.

First off, you are on the right path-making it a batlle will only give her negative feelings about toothbrushing. Well, welcome to the wonderful world of motherhood. What I mean by that is before I became a SAHM (after the birth of my second child) I was a dental hygienist for 8 years. So I thought this part should be easy for me, but, ha! it was and still is a struggle. I became so much more compassionate to my patients after becoming a mom.
Eventually I made up a silly song and that helped my son, as did him getting older. I also let him do it by himself when I was finished almost as a reward, plus their effort (as little as it may be) can only help and not do any harm. My son is now 3 1/2 but for my daughter who just turned one, I find it easier to use a wet wahscloth instead of a toothbrush. Also, keep in mind that most children do not build up a great deal of plaque at this age so one really thorough brushing per day should be sufficient. What you also want to keep in mind is frequency of snacking on carb foods (especially sticky ones) and constantly sipping on juice and milk.
As she gets older, you can educate her in simple terms of why we need to clean our teeth and eventually a trip to the dentist should also help. Good luck-hope this helps!
L.

My 19th month old loves to use my tooth brush. I would brush my teeth while she brushed hers. Then she would pick up mine and brush with it. The catch is I have an electric tooth brush. Sense she liked mine so much i went and bought her one too. She is not scared b/c she sees mommy do it. Now she loves to go brush her teeth. Good luck. S.

Hi E.,
Toothbrushing can be a frustrating. One suggestion that my sons' hygenist made that worked well was to put a pillow on my lap. Invite my son to sit with his head on the pillow.Ok, then ask him to open his mouth so that you could clean his teeth. I actually started this with my oldest boy before we even introduced a toothbrush, he was three months old when he broke four teeth at the same time. So for a week or so I cleaned his mouth with a baby wash cloth. Then I tickled him with the brush and asked him to open his mouth so I could clean them and brushed his teeth.
Maybe instead of reintroducing the toothbrush, the point the hygentist tried to make was that it can be scary with someone sticking something into your mouth face to face. As my sons got older, and each one teething at different ages, they would let me brush their teeth when we were both facing the mirror and I was behind him looking at him through the mirror. It seemed more stress free then when I tried to face him with a toothbrush in my hand.
Goodluck and give yourself time. Making it a habit also makes it easier for your son to get used to.
M.

There are quite a few novelty tooth brushes out there that she might think are fun, like one that lights up or playes music.

Hi E., I haven't received them yet but I have ordered "Baby's 1st toothbrush" from One Step Ahead. It is actually a toothbrush they bite that cleans teeth while they are biting. (9.95 for 2). I have a 17 mo old who I have to wrestle kicking & screaming to brush his teeth well. He loves to chew on things so thought I'd give it a try. You can go to their web page to check it out, www.onestepahead.com It might be worth a try, hopefully they will work in the transition to an older age when he will understand what we are doing.
Best of luck!
P.

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