Brushing Teeth - Dracut,MA

Updated on October 14, 2008
B.T. asks from Exeter, NH
18 answers

Hi everyone,
I'm having a really hard time brushing my 2yr olds teeth. He doesn't want to open his mouth at all. I just got an electric toothbrush for him thinking that it might help to get him excited about it but that doesn't seem to work either. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can get his teeth clean??
Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much everyone! I am going to try all of your suggestions.....somethings gotta work! :)

Featured Answers

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R.N.

answers from Providence on

Hi Bonnie,
I remember having a "contest" with my son at this age (he's now 5). We'd both brush together and do a "ready, set, go!" He would also copy all my moves, back, up, front, side to side, etc and we'd both be looking in the mirror. It was really a fun game for him. He is still an avid brusher to this day and never gives us a problem. Remember, stickers work magic too as a reward! Good luck!!

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P.N.

answers from Boston on

This can be such a pain! I have a 2 yo. We try different things all the time. Sometimes DD is very cooperative other times not. First of all, if you are anxious about it, it will make it more difficult so try to relax. Some of the things we do:
-give her a choice of toothbrushes
-ask which song she wants us to sing while we brush
-give choices about where we will brush-in the bathroom, bedroom, sitting, standing, etc
-let her brush my teeth while I do hers
-if she is really getting upset, I stop, give hugs or whatever and resume in a few mins
-if she is not cooperative at all, ask if she has sore teeth and then avoid the area she says is sore
-we race-daddy tries to do her teeth before I finish mine

We just try to be very flexible. I didn't want a negative association with brushing so at first we did a little each night and built it up to more and more time. But I also treat it as a regular thing that will get done, though it sometimes takes a lot longer. I found that trying to force it didn't work for us at all. It does get somewhat easier to "reason" with them the older they get. I will tell her no stories until we are done (as that's the next part of the bedtime routine) but I don't do rewards for it, because I feel it is something that needs to be done, and if I do rewards, she could just decide she'd rather have no reward and not brush. Not an option. Just keep trying different things. Good luck.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Hi Bonnie, being a speech pathologist I have seen this before. I wonder, does he have any funny eating issues such as not eating certain textured foods (meat, chewy foods, crunchy foods, purees), is he gagging or spitting out foods, etc? If so, he may have what we call an oral aversion where a child may have sensory issues around the mouth. Brushing may actually be uncomfortable. Has he been the kind of child who mouthed toys as an infant? If not there may be an issue worth exploring. Ask your pediatrician. If none of the above applies try a reward system. Start in small steps. Perhaps he could just hold the toothbrush and get a small reward. Next he could put it on his tongue without toothpaste and soforth until he gets more comfortable. As far as cleaning, will he at least drink a little water after he eats?

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K.K.

answers from Hartford on

Hi,

Recently my 2 year old started fussing/refusing when I go to brush his teeth, where normally he LOVES his electric astronaut toothbrush. I resulted to using flavored dental floss. First, I flossed my teeth in front of him, of course acting like I was totally enjoying myself and that it tasted good (which it does - Berry flavored floss). He wanted to try but I told him he needed to brush his teeth first. Haven't had a lick of trouble since. I let him choose between blue, red or white floss and he loves having a choice! After I time, I expect the novelty will wear off, but it's interesting having my husband, myself and son all flossing in the bathroom at the same time!

Good Luck!

K.

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J.R.

answers from Boston on

My husband and I had the same difficult when my son was two. We started brushing our teeth at the same time as him. Then, when he couldn't get his back teeth like we did, he would allow us to do them. Even now, he's three, he starts and one of us finishes to make sure he got all his teeth.

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L.R.

answers from Boston on

I usually just let my son chew on his tooth brush. He does this when I'm brushing my teeth and thinks he is copying. I think he's probably getting his teeth somewhat clean by doing this.

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J.R.

answers from Pittsfield on

I used this advice given directly to me from our pediatric dentist. Lie your child down on his/her back & sit above their head while you brush the teeth. It gives better control over your brushing & you can see all the teeth really well. In this postion it's easier to keep the mouth open as well. I used to tell my toddlers about all the food that I could see in their teeth that they ate that day before I brushed it all away. Good Luck!

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L.W.

answers from Boston on

I'll share whats worked for us. Put on your silly hat & act silly. Give everything a name. Mr Toothbrush, & Mrs Toothpaste, etc. Give yourself a different voice too. Play the part, tell him Mr Toothbrush needs to find the buggies( or whatever you want to call it) and pretend you see whatever food he ate for dinner. " oh my gosh we've gotta get that spaghetti off your teeth! " Make brushing fun, i'm sure he'll want to participate! Good luck! :)

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C.H.

answers from Boston on

try the "let me tickle those teethies!" and "uhoh! I think I see broccoli still in there! lets get that eewy stuff out!" or, if all else fails, lay them on the hall floor, straddle him, holding his arms down with your knees, and when he cries/ laughs brush brush brush! I do/ did it all with my girls, and one way or another it works, and its all better than rotten teeth! Good luck!

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R.S.

answers from Providence on

I have the same problem with my 2yo. She would chew on her toothbrush, but not let me near her without a fight. I brought one of those toothbrushes that plays music in your mouth & that seemed to help. Now she'll open her mouth & let me brush to listen to the music (some days) & other days I have to hold her down & brush them. Of coarse this is as much a game to her as anything else. She runs when she sees the toothbrush & laughs until I catch her, then it's a fight.
Good luck

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C.O.

answers from Boston on

Sounds silly...but I read this in a magazine and it worked wonders for us! My son will be 3 in November. At this age they still need help with their teeth so I always do his teeth fisrt and then ask him to do the spots I missed. As he got older I needed to incorporate more tricks into the practice. Make a game of it and tell your babe that he has an animal in his mouth, my son loves monkeys, so we went with a monkey. I would make a gasp and say something like "Look! There is a monkey in your mouth! Let me get him with the toothbrush, we'll brush him right out!" play along until you are satisfied and then tell him "Oh I need your help now to get that monkey out, can you brush your teeth and try and get him!!?" So silly, but worked wonders. It also worked great at the dentist, I told them about the game and they used it with my son to get him to sit still for cleanings, etc. The dentist even gave him a stuffed monkey to "replace" the one they cleaned out of his mouth!
Hope this helps! Best of luck, C.

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K.T.

answers from Boston on

What ever you do, dont get mad at him, or yell at him or make it out to be a big ordeal. My first child was a hard one to brush his teeth, after a while it really took a toll on both of us. Just do the best you can.

My second child now, who is 2 is doing a lot better. What I do with her, while I attempt to brush her teeth is, tell her to ROAR like a monster, then part of the time we both do AHHHH. You have to be fast!! I also tell her I have a turn to brush hers, then she has a turn. We just started using the bubblegum toddler toothpaste which she likes too, holds he interest.

I've heard others say things like, let them brush your teeth while you brush theirs...or brush with two toothbrushes at a time... gotta kinda get creative. Hope this helps some.

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L.S.

answers from Hartford on

We were (and still are -sort of) having this problem with my 20 month old. She would stick out her toung and make it impossible for us to brush. What has evolved -- and has started working -- is her watching me brush my teeth, handing her a toothbrush and letting her "brush" her own teeth. After she does this for a tad we make "noisy's" in her mouth with the toothbrush(you know the sound the toothbrush makes when it brushes teeth?)

I haven't pushed the issue and my goal at first was to just get that toothbrush in her mouth for a second or two. Over the course of a month it has progressed enough that I will get her bottom teeth and top teeth fairly well. Then just yesterday was the first time I was able to get her front teeth. Sometimes i think it's the sensation of the toothbrush in their mouth that they don't like and need to get used to.

Be patient -- it's a process.

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D.W.

answers from Boston on

They have a great new toothpaste out that is blue and when you brush, the blue vanishes so you know your kids teeth are getting clean. The areas that stay blue need more brushing. My daughter loves it and thinks it's the greatest thing. Good luck

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N.S.

answers from Hartford on

I have heard eating apples is as good as brushing teeth the apples reeally claens the teeth as you eat. An Apple a day actually keeps the dentist away! Anyhoo maybe try some of those fun startegies and work at offerinf apples to help as well?

-N.

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E.C.

answers from Providence on

I told my son he had "sugar monsters" in his mouth from his food and we have races trying to catch the sugar monsters -- counting them, shouting out the color monsters we are catching, etc. We always want to see which one of can catch the most so we both get a turn., etc.

Try some different toothpastes -- my son is really picky about which one.

If you can get one small enough for your child's mouth try one of the kid electric toothbrushes.

Sticker or reward chart

I always have to let my kids brush first and then I can -- they fight if I go first.

Hope these help!

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A.M.

answers from Providence on

Do one for one. (we do this ALOT) Give him a toothbrush and you have one too. He gets to start and take his "turn". (which will be mostly biting on his brush or licking it) Then mommy/daddy gets a turn. (use the toddler toothpaste that is "ok" if it is swallowed)
Make it a game after the inital trust is built. 1."How fast can you brush the bottom? Then I see how fast I can brush the top?" 2."How SLOW" 3.Start VERY slow and get the bottom brushes at night and the top brushed when morning time comes.

OR maybe whatever stuffed friend is the favorite, start the process on it first and then move to your child.

GOOD LUCK!

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R.K.

answers from Boston on

My 18 month old is the same way. At night after he has a bath I wrap him up in a towel and lay him down with the towel tucked under him and I brush as much as can until he frees his hands than I let him finish up with the tooth brush. Getting some done is better than none.

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