Toddler won’t brush teeth? Here’s our secret weapon…
Our little boy HATED brushing his teeth until exactly 5 days ago. We’re currently on holiday with friends, whose little girl is only a few weeks younger, and this game changing piece of advice was divulged on the first night of our the holiday. I honestly don’t know why, but it works. If your toddler won’t brush their teeth, keep reading to unlock the secret to shiny, tiny teeth on your little person.
Our teething journey so far
My son got his first tooth at 8 month’s old, and a few weeks afterwards when the buds had sprouted through, we began our teeth brushing adventure. “Adventure” has many definitions, but the definition I’m currently referring to is “a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome”, because every morning and evening, we had no idea what kind of reception the tooth brush would receive.
Over the last 16 months we’ve seen our son get progressively worse day by day, to the extreme that I took the dentist’s word quite literally when she told me we may have to pin him down to make sure his teeth are brushed. Yes, my husband and I have physically restrained our child whilst he screamed as though being hung, drawn and quartered.
We did have the occasional breakthrough whereby he would be angelic for a week or two, and this made me think that all the other times, he was just in pain from teething, and we should ride it out until all of his teeth had cut. Well, we’re now on 16 out of 20 teeth, and the angel child has become a total recluse, overshadowed by the furious gremlin that takes over him ever time the tooth brush appears.
We tried a few “top tips” along the way, I even bought this baby electric toothbrush as another friend had recommended it to me. No such luck with our little monster.
Our saviour – watch this…
What was THAT???
I honestly have no idea why or how, but it works.
My dentist suggested, besides the “pin him down” strategy, that we try distraction. The evening after our visit to the dentist 3 weeks ago, I sat with my son and brushed his teeth whilst watching a television program with him, and reminded him that the lady dentist had said that he must let mummy or daddy brush his teeth and be a good boy. It worked. The next evening, I tried the same thing…. failure every time I’ve tried this since. Obviously, the idea behind the distraction technique seems to work though.
I know we’re only 6 days in, but the change we’ve seen in our little boy since we started showing him this video is unbelievable. He still wants to suck the toothpaste off the brush when we first show it to him, but then I find the song on Youtube, and pass him my phone in return for his toothbrush, and this trade goes seamlessly. I ask him to open his mouth and say “aaaahhh”. He complies. I ask him to say “cheeeeeese”. He complies.
The video is 2:23 long, and although we’re probably only getting him to last for around 1:15 of teeth brushing at the moment, I think that’s probably a factor of 5 times better than our previous PB! Tonight, I didn’t even need to ask him to say “aaaahhh”, he did it all by himself as soon as he gave me the toothbrush.
How long will it last?
I have no idea how long this will work for, but this time last week I would never have believed we would be in such a happy place with teeth brushing as we are right now. When the time comes that he starts acting out again, I’ve been reassured by my friend that there are other equally transfixing teeth brushing songs on Youtube that you can work your way through.
I hope that this article helps you to overcome this bedtime battle and that you have the same success as we have. I would love to hear whether this works for you, or if you have any other tips for toddler teeth brushing, it may help somebody out in the future! Please share this article with your friends and family if you have found it useful.