Getting my little one to brush her teeth???

United States
January 13, 2007 11:14am CST
HELP!!! My daughter who is going to be 23 months old this month is being stubborn. She wants to brush her own teeth, but I want to show her how and she won't let. She wants to do it on her own and she won't let me show her. It's a fight. I put her on the counter to let her see herself in the big mirror, but all she wants to do is play with everything on the counter. I have tried the kid sized electric toothbrush and she will only do it on her front teeth. She then wants to use my tooth brush which is okay, but she does the same thing as with the electric toothbrush. When I try to show her she pushes my hand away and just gives me the tooth brush back. I don't know what to do. My patience has been running low and I am ready to just give up. I just want to scream at her. I am confused and frustrated. Someone please help!! Thank you in advance!
9 people like this
59 responses
• United States
13 Jan 07
My daughter and son used to do the same thing as well. What I have found best is that I make an agreement with them that they can brush their own teeth first and then when they are done Mommy gets to go in and get the back teeth so they wont fall out. After awhile of doing this they started to get the hand of how they should brush their own teeth. Little by little each time its their turn to brush their own teeth they are doing better and better with it. I know its frustrating at first and its faster for you to just do it, but take some time with it, let them play with it, dont turn her off to brushing her own teeth by making it a constant battle. Best of luck to you.
• United States
13 Jan 07
I will have to try that. I guess I am being too impatient. Thanx
1 person likes this
@medooley (1874)
• United States
13 Jan 07
This is also how we do it with our children who are 4 and 2. Even the 4 year old who knows how to brush his teeth we still go in and do it because he does not do it as good by himself as he needs too. The two year old knows that if she does not let us brush her teeth after she does, then the next time we have to brush her teeth she does not get to do it. We believe that there has to be concequences for her not letting us brush her teeth. And of course praise... praise... praise when she does what you want her to do, make a big deal out of it!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
14 Jan 07
i agree. this is also the way how i deal with my kids when brushing their teeth. kids their age loves to explore a lot of things. you just need to have more & more & more patience. kids easily adapt to do the right way while they are growing up. just try to enjoy every moment any activity you do with your kids. they may be stubborn at times, but they truly make my day light. good luck!
@GardenGerty (101592)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I worked at Head Start,kids three and older, and we did dry brushing. Health education is one component of Head Start. A teacher brushed with the kids. Some years we used music, special songs about teeth brushing, but we also just took our tooth brushes and ran through the routine, doing it ourselves, and verbally cueing the kiddoes. Brush in front,brush on the side, brush the other side, stick your brush way back on the top, etc. you know the drill. Demonstrate with your tooth brush what she needs to do.You are doing an excellent job by extablishing the routine. Check with the library, there are probably some good books available that little kids will want to be read about tooth brushing. We also had a wide mouthed animal puppet with teeth and a giant tooth brush, we practiced brushing the puppet's teeth. Maybe you could find a doll she could practice on. Good luck
@breezie (1247)
• Canada
13 Jan 07
My son was the same way. One thing that I tried with him is that I would let him brush my teeth and then I would do his. He thought it was a fun game. Also like another person mentioned I woud let him brush first and then I would finidh up after he was done. My son is now 5 and still is resistant to anyone helping him floss, good luck.
13 Jan 07
That's a good idea actually, doing it yourself first, so that you're not actually HELPING him -- it would give him a good idea of how to do it for himself, but save his pride -- well thought of!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jan 07
dont get frustrated over little things. first of all you should show her that mommy brushes her teeth too. Put a tootbrush in her hand with toothpaste on it while your giving her a bath make it a habit to do it in the bath, that way the more you do it the more she will be reminding you to give her the toothbrush while she is taking a bath. If you have the time also brush your own teeth to show her that the correct way and try to make it fun. it shouldnt be frustrating. Usually my daughter likes to put the tootbrush in her mouth and swallow the paste and it used to frustrate me too, but now as soon as she puts the tootbrush in her mouth i move her hand back and forth and she starts laughing. the more i do it to her, the more she does it herself just to try to get me laughing along with her. dont sweat it, just make it fun!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jan 07
there is a special childrens toothpaste that i use specifically for my daughter they sell it in the toothpaste section of any grocery store. The reason that I DID get frustrated every time she swallowed is because I AM full aware of how dangerous it is. for real just read above. it frustrated me. it IS dangerous.
• United States
13 Jan 07
Kids are kids. They want to play with everything, that is the way they learn. If she gets into stuff on the counter, try using a step stool to let her stand in front of the sink. Do you brush your teeth when she is brushing hers? She may like to make a game out of it. This was they only way I could get my grandson to brush his. I also have bought him a "Firefly" toothbrush. It lights up on the handle and serves as a timer. Remember, she is still young. She is still learning.
• United States
13 Jan 07
I know that I am being impatient. I guess it is because I am used to doing things for her. Now she seems more and more like she is trying to be independent. The tooth brush we got her was a spongebob electric one. I guess I got so frustrated with her that I caused her not to want to use that one anymore. I am going to have to try the game thing. Thanx
1 person likes this
@nnsb75 (632)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Its just normal for the little ones to get stubborn sometimes in brushing teeth don't worry she will stop and eventually will like to brush her teeth, my 3 years old boy was like that before but now I don't have to ask him to brush his teeth, his the one who's asking me now that he want to brush, by the way, its not a good idea that you let her use your toothbrush, sharing toothbrush isn't a very good hygine you want your child to get use to, I read an article in parents magazine that even sharing spoon while you eat is a bad thing for your child's teeth.
• United States
13 Jan 07
Well that is good to know. Someone told me that they let their kid use theirs. I used to let her eat out of my bowl with the same spoon, but now she has gotten to the point where she wants to do everything on her own. I am glad to know this now. Thanx
1 person likes this
@cuddiluk (1523)
• Philippines
14 Jan 07
Wow, really your daughter is really working great. she's learning to become independent child. As parents were here to guide them. My daughter used to be that way, I have no worries about it. I let her allow all the way without interrupting or disturbing her. I show mine how I brush my teeth. Afterwards her toothbrush is nowhere to find. Its ok, don't worry.
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
14 Jan 07
I let my daughter brush her own teeth. I brush my teeth with her and in the beginning she would watch me. Now she is 4 and does it all on her own and she gets the back, front and side to side all fine. Just let your daughter do it on her own. Even if you want to tell her how or help her, don't. Try to just let her work it out on her own. Give her some time. Next time when you guys go to brush your teeth, let her do it all on her own and don't say anything, just tell her she did a good job and do this the next few days or longer and see if she improves. Sometimes kids just need to learn on their own. If she keeps on missing her back teeth, then after a while, ask her if you can get her back teeth. Maybe have her get your back teeth first and take turns???
1 person likes this
• Dallas, Texas
14 Jan 07
I had the same problem with my kids as well. I would just brush them first and then let them brush them on there own after I brushed them. They tried to cop an attitude but I just got stern and told them that they better let me brush their teeth or they would be in trouble. I gave them that wide nostril - "you better not mess with Daddy! and I can care less if you cry look" so they know how serious I am. They will be mad for a while but eventuall they will get used to it. I tell them if they do not want me to brush them for them then they better brush them right. Soon they learn to brush them correctly on ther own. I think compermising and making deals is a wast of time. If I tell them to do somthing they need to do it. Period. We can compemise when they get 18. I take that approach only with things like brushing teeth, crossing the street, eating their food - things like that. Things they have to know to keep up with their hygene, saftey, education, etc. I will give them a chance to exercize their free will with other things like where they want to go or what they want to wear (unless it looks bad).
1 person likes this
• Italy
14 Jan 07
it isn't a big problem? it will end!
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Jan 07
i got my daughter who is 2 a barbie electric toothbrush. and she come and stands on a stool while i brush my teeth. u dont want to push to hard because then she wont want to do it all. just be patient and make toothbushing a fun part of the day.
1 person likes this
• India
14 Jan 07
if i were in your place i will let her do what she is doing if you force a kid to not to do a certain thing he or she just go oppsite to it its a child nature so dont worry .
@Marie2473 (8519)
• Sweden
13 Jan 07
Maybeyou should try and make a compromiize with her. Tell her that if u can do it and show her at night time - she can do it herfself in the morning. Atleaast for a while, maybe this way it will learn her and at the same time make her feel that she is doing it herself!
1 person likes this
@kathy77 (7488)
• Australia
13 Jan 07
Oh yes little ones always want to brush their own teeth, well let her brush her own teeth first as long as when she is finished that she lets you finish off the brushing of her teeth, and try to explain to her that you have to do it for her as otherwise when the fairies come to see her when her teeth come out that they won't like her tooth and they won't leave anything some little story like that it may encourage her to let you brush her teeth, as little ones are prone to love fairy stories. Your welcome hope that ths helps!!
1 person likes this
@camille101 (1027)
• United Arab Emirates
13 Jan 07
Hi there. How about making this scenery a fun thing to do together. Yes, together, you and her. You both hold your toothbrush and show her how to do it, slowly and calmly show her the proper way. You can even do this funnily like singing some child tunes about brushing teeth and even dancing all the way. Children likes to play, so do it playfully with her. Goodluck.
• United States
13 Jan 07
Hang in there! Kids move from one frustrating, stubborn habit to the next and during each stage it's so easy to lose your patience. I've been a mom for almost ten years, and as soon as they learn a new skill, learn how to use the potty, stay dry through the night, etc...it seems like another hurdle appears almost instantly! I had a really hard time getting my youngest to brush his teeth, and I had two older children at the time that he idolized-even watching them brush didn't help! I tried different toothbrushes (I even bought a musical one at one point), different flavors of toothpaste, singing, etc. and nothing worked. Finally, I tried a timer. We had a wind up kitchen timer that he loved to hear "buzz" and we also had a yahtzee timer that he loved to watch the sand flow through. Well, both of these really helped. I would set the timer for 1 minute for starters and have him brush until it rang, then he could stop. Eventually we moved onto the three minute timer. It took awhile, but he still watches the sand timer to count his three minutes of brushing, and he's six! Good luck to you.
@boogasmom (149)
• United States
14 Jan 07
I don't know that this will help you. But what worked with all three of mine is the kid mouth wash. I can't remember the name of it, but it turns thier teeth blue. It is a prebrush rinse, that turns all the plaque on thier teeth blue and shows them were to brush. I had such a hard time with my son. He would not brush the back either until I bought that stuff. He thought it was sooooooooo cool that it turned his teeth blue and he had to brush and brush to get them clean. I think it is called Agent Cool Blue. Well hope this helps.
• United States
14 Jan 07
I didn't know about that stuff. Thanks for the tip.
@fayzah (253)
• United States
14 Jan 07
Try to make it fun and not as a have to do it, now there are so many cute toothbrushes with cartoons on them, the little ones love to play with them, there is also flavored toothpaste in orange, grape, cherry, and bubble gum, if you take her to the store and let her pick out what brush she likes and play a game with her at home about brushing her teeth, she will then come around to enjoying it. good luck :)
@fayzah (253)
• United States
14 Jan 07
Really good web site to help you with this is www.colgate.com gives you tips on how children should brush their teeth. and has a reward program and games for them to do so.
• Melbourne, Florida
14 Jan 07
Let her do it. It's not a skill she has to have perfected right now. Brush your teeth when she does. Show her by doing. So what if she doesn't do it right. She will get good at it soon.
• Melbourne, Florida
14 Jan 07
don't forget. The teeth she has will all fall out in a few years. So it's not crucial to be as diligent about cleaning them as the next set of teeth that come in. It's fine if she is more or less just going through the motions at this age.
@stacyv81 (5904)
• United States
13 Mar 07
My son is 3 and loves to brush his teeth he does it about 25 times a day, but he always wants to brush his own. So, I alwaays say let mommy do it first then you can do it. So, I do it so, that they are brushed correctly and then I give him some time to dit by himself, It seems to work out pretty nicely, at first it was harder. but once they realize that when you are done they'll be able to it goes a lot more smoothly.