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Toddler Teeth Brushing Problems

  1. #1
    Swoon's Avatar
    Swoon is offline Banned
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    Nov 2002
    Hong Kong

    Toddler Teeth Brushing Problems

    My son is 1 1/2 and he won't let us brush his teeth--meaning that his teeth have not been brushed for 6 months! He has about 7 or so at the front for the last 6 months now but everytime I try, he clamps his mouth shut, turns his head away and struggles like crazy.

    Lately, I've bought some baby toothpaste and we've been able to at least get his mouth open long enough to do a few quick brushes. But is it okay for the toothpaste to be swallowed daily?

    Does anyone have suggestions on what to do? I'm getting worried now that his teeth will get decayed already. The mimicking method doesn't work for us. He'll watch me brush my teeth and giggle but then when I try to get him to copy, he cries and struggles.

  2. #2
    Bernard is offline Registered User
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    Aug 2004
    Discovery Bay
    Have you tried just wiping them with a sterile gauze pad? Em wouldn't let us clean her teeth with a brush for ages, but I could usually persuade her to open her mouth long enough to give her a quick once-over with a gauze. Our dentist says that at this age that's a pretty effective way to clean them as it's easier to get near the gums.

    What finally persuaded Em that brushing was fun was buying her a big step stool so that she could climb up and stand at the sink in front of the mirror and watch herself brush - we now brush her teeth three times a day and have no problems persuading her at all!

    Good luck,

  3. #3
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Nov 2003
    Hong Kong
    There are some things that parents know best and teeth brushing is one of them. Get in there for a quick brush at the same time every night. You might have to hold his mouth open at first and there might be some crying. But he'll thank you when he grows up and has a nice set of pearly whites.

    It might take a couple of weeks, but soon he'll get used to it and not put up so much of a fuss. My daughter has been through stages where she will tolerate her teeth being brushed and others where she won't. My attitude is that it is not optional! Of course I go softly if she is teething and has sore gums.

    A small amount (less than the size of a pea) of childrens toothpaste is ok to be swallowed. Childrens toothpaste has a lower flouride content. Most children don't learn to spit it out until they are around 5 years old (or so I read).

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Joyce is offline Registered User
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    May 2003
    Hong Kong
    I have two toothbrushes. I let my toddler "brush"her own teeth with the tommy toothbrush, which really means that she chews it! But when she lies down in her cot and is getting sleepy, I then use a finger toothbrush and try my best to brush her teeth! Some nights she co-operates, some nights not. Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    scr is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    We have two toothbrushes too :) My son stands on a stool and holds one brush in his hand while I brush his teeth with the other. Then when I'm done I leave him with "his" brush and he has a whale of a time brushing, gargling, washing..imitating me brushing. Then cleaning his tongue with the brush indicates the end of brushing time. I have trouble getting him to stop brushing. In the begining it was tough but I never forced. He watched me brush for a long time before he was ready to try it himself even though he has always been fascinated.

    Some things that help....give your child a drink of water after every meal. It helps to clean his mouth or gums. Teach your child to wash mouth with water after every meal. Might end up drinking the water so give drinking water when teaching. Offer the brush each time and let him try it out himself. And keep two for you and one for him. Since you are using baby's ok for him to swallow some. Use small amounts on the brush. Since he isn't cooperative right now...start with making it a routine at bedtime. Do it every night. At this age once is ok...preferably before bed. Once he is more agreeable make it twice or even thrice a day...after meals.

  6. #6
    ICmom is offline Registered User
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    Jul 2004
    If you are still concerned about him swallowing fluoride, look for fluoride free baby toothpaste, it is out there. Orajel makes some, sure there are atleast 1-2 other brands. My son sucks away on the stuff and I don't have to worry. I have found it in Singapore, wouldn't know where to get it in Hong Kong--sorry! Good luck. Oh, and be persistent--my son kicked and screamed for 3 months when we'd brush his teeth and even now it's an issue but getting easier.

  7. #7
    Lai San is offline Registered User
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    Jul 2003
    Hong Kong

    baby toothpaste

    My girl uses FirstTeeth (a floruide free baby toothpaste that is supposedly safe to swallow). You can get it from Wing On department store or there is a shop (forgot the name) on Wellington Street, Central that sells it too.

  8. #8
    emilyc is offline Registered User
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    May 2004
    happy valley, hong kong
    Try asking your son to brush his favourite's toy's "teeth", say "Let's give Winnie the Pooh's teeth a quick brush". Let him do it to Pooh and then you do it for him.

    Alternative, is get puppet (say one that make out of an old sock), ask him to brush the puppet's teeth, then, close the puppet's mouth (which of course is your hand), and explain it's difficult to brush now. Open up and say now you can brush.

    Make a game out of it and maybe he will slowly try to brush.

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