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.

My two girls brush their teeth w/ me. They like to copy so they see what I do and then do it to. And when my youngest doesn't do a great job I tackle her down too and do it myself and then explain to her that she needs to do it right if she doesn't want my help! She's not afraid (I hope she wont be either) but I do what I have to. Good Luck!

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!

My 16 month old and I both brush our teeth at the same time. he will brush my teeth and I will brush his. Then I tell him, 'you try' He does for a couple of seconds then wants to brush mine. Try that.

Hi,
My son is 2 and we have had some issues with him not wanting us to brush his teeth too. My first question is does she see a dentist? We see one in stone oak ( Stone Oak Pediatric dentristy)they are really great at making him feel safe with the teeth cleaning, and at two he has already had two checkups. She recomended that we get him a battery powered brush to make the most of the time that we can brush. She said that they fight as a power struggle and because that is invading their " personal bubble". she said just to do the best that you can. My son loves his Elmo toothbrush and I let him brush first and then say ok its mommy's turn and I make sure that they are all well brushed. Hope this helps.

I got my daughter to brush her teeth by playing a tape of her fav songs and telling her she needed to brush for one whole song. They have those tooth brushes that play music but they may be a little too big for her mouth. My daughter like most little girls wants to be just like me so if all else fails ( if she starts slacking) i just have her brush her teeth in my bathroom with me and she brushes for as long as i do and usually by the time we are done she has gotten her whole mouth. Do you have a mirror that magnifies, if so see if you can gross her out by showing her what she is missing and then maybe she will wanna do it on her own.

I have a 4 1/2 yr old little boy who is extremely headstrong. The only thing that works for me is to let him brush his teeth with me, in my bathroom. If your little one is a copier, this might work. I sit down on the toilet lid, so I'm at his level, and I show him what to do, using my own mouth. This works, usually. There are some times when I have to take his toothbrush & get some of the areas that he's missed. Usually, he'll let me, if I've let him try first. Good luck!! =)

Unfortunately I can't help you. We are having the same problem with our 16 mo old boy. If you could let me know what people suggest I would REALLY appreciate it.

As a mother of 2, I have gone thru that experience more than once, but it has to be something fun as well as educating them on what happens if they dont brush. There are some books, they are older but they are the Timmy the Tooth series and they teach about health teeth and gums and there is the bad guy tooth and gums....holding her down to force her is gonna hinder your ability to have her want to brush cause she will see it as unpleasant and forceful. I let my daughter pick out a toothbrush that interested her and special toothpaste that was just for her and that made all the difference in the world, and finding a fun dentist is great way as well...good luck

yes, depending on the level of discolor mis want to take her to the dentist right away to make sure it is not tooth rot or trouble with gums. I would suggest brushing twice a day at least and helping. I like to take turns with my two year old. Mommys turn brush one two threeeee..then I let him try counting again one to three. I keep doing this back and fourth till it gets done, though noticing he does not like the front brushed either. If in bath stand behind him,place hand on his forehead and firmly brush. It can be trying at first till they get into routine....but the alternative is worse.
Good Luck and God Bless

i have a 25 month old girl who used to brush her own teeth too. i had trouble getting her to let me brush them for her but now, she gets it. i started by telling her she could brush mommy's teeth while i brushed hers. i'd put toothpaste on both our brushes and i'd give her mine and kneel down to where she could reach me and we'd brush eachothers teeth. this lasted a few months and now i just get her toothbrush and tell her "first me then you" which just means first i get to brush her teeth then she gets to brush her teeth. she doesn't need to brush mine anymore. she still won't budge with my husband though. try to make it fun when she's brushing your teeth and really let her brush them. good luck.

My kids dentist tells every parent to brush their kids teeth at least twice a week until they are 10 years old. LOL I know this seems crazy, but they just don't have the fine motor skills or the "want" to get them completely clean. My suggestion is to let your daughter brush her own teeth for 2 minutes, kids this age love timers...we have an hour glass, and then tell her that mom or dad gets 2 minutes. This way she still feels like a big girl and the teeth still get clean. If she hasn't been brushing up near the gums for a while, it may actually be a little discomfortable for her gums when you start brushing up there. You should try a very soft toothbrush or even a soft cloth to start with, after her gums get used to it they won't hurt anymore.

i have a 3 yo and 18 mo old. what works with the 3 yo is i let him brush first and then i ask him to let mommy get what he missed. the 18 month old i brush with a seperate toothbrush while he is busy biting on and brushing with his. since baby brushes are so small, thee is room for noth of us in there lol, although its a little tight, but you gotta do what you gotta do. hope this helps

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