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Teeth Cleaning

Any tips to make it a less traumatic process with a 16 month old.  Some days she will voluntarily put the brush in her mouth and then let me brush, but others she will clamp firmly shut and then it ends up as a battle of wills - any advice??


  • I'm lucky as my two like having their teeth cleaned but we still play games whilst we do it.

    We play dentists and also have a dolly in the bathroom so that Isla can brush her teeth too.
  • Perseverance! My 2 1/2 year old is mostly good but some days she won't let us do it, I use positive reinforcement for most toddler issues. So I'll tell her that once I've done her teeth she'll get a story. Don't know if that'll work for your little one. Good luck

  • It's tough, my 13 month old goes through phases!  At the moment she's generally happy for me to do it if I pull a funny face baring my teeth and grinning at her! Other times she just clamps her mouth shut and its a battle.  

  • L is usually happy to do his while I do mine, so we tend to do that first. However, obviously he cant do it very well yet so then I takeover. Some days he thinks its hilarious and will open wide and say 'aaa' while I do it, but other days its a battle. To be honest, on those days I just lie him on the bed, hold his arms out of the way and just get on with it. If he clamps his mouth shut I find a way of opening it, usually tickling him! He sometimes screams the whole time but we're figuring that if we're consistent he will eventually realise its not negotiable

  • Thanks ladies - we try to make it fun, but some days she just doesn't want to co-operate.  It is one of those things that is a non-negotiable for me (and is prticularly important for her due to future surgery she will need to have on her gum), so will have to try and continue to make it fun and encourage her ... eventually she will realise that it will happen one way or the other I guess!

  • This has been something that we've always been worried about with W.  How were we going to get him to brush his teeth, but he's actually really good at it! We tend to tell him it's time to brush his teeth and he get's all excited. I quickly brush in his mouth as much as i can and leave him to it.  When he looks at me i do a brushing motion to encourage him and that seems to be working well as he's at the an age where he's copying certain things you do.  he get's loads of praise when he does it too.  I know it's important for them to brush their teeth, but i wouldn't force it if they don't want to at that moment in time, I'd sit and ask every couple of minutes until they decide they want to. I know with W, once he starts associating things with negativity, it's really hard to get him to see otherwise.

  • We have had trouble with A recently. She completely lost interest in using her own brush and wanted to use ours instead so we bought her an adult sized soft bristled brush which she used for a while and then went off it again. She is now more interested in her own again, and now we make sure we get it all ready in front of her and explain what we're doing (getting the brush out, holding under tap, putting toothpaste on etc) which is helping but is a bit hit and miss still. She'll chew on it and scrub a little bit but absolutely will not let us do it for her - WW3 if we even try!

  • Thanks everyone - we had a massive breakthrough last night. I downloaded the aqua fresh app which has a singing character brushing their teeth (runs for 2 mins). She lived it and we got more teeth cleaning done than ever before!!

  • That's great Alocin! I'm so pleased that you've made a break through.  I had been wondering about the app, and if it would be of benefit.  I'm so pleased for you! :-)

  • I might try that! We operate a 2 brush system, J chooses which he wants and I have the other. He brushes his for a bit, then I brush his for a bit. Sometimes while I'm brushing his he pokes his toothbrush in my mouth. Anything that works!

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