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A toddler brushing his teeth with a toothbrushEverything was going well – at the age of 11 months we started to get Eric to brush his teeth; we bought him a soft little brush and he liked to hold it in his mouth and chew it. Eric was copying mommy and daddy and cleaning his teeth with our help, showing to his furry puppet friend how it’s done. I know, I know – too good to be true. And then after a couple of months… he just lost interest. Brushing wasn’t exciting any more.

Now he doesn’t let us anywhere near his teeth. Correction – he takes the toothbrush once, sucks the water off and throws it on the floor, end of story. He closes his lips and pushes the brush away. All my attempts to get him to open his mouth do no good. He fights and tries to escape.

We tried everything:

  • Making funny noises to get him to laugh and open his mouth
  • Showing him how I brush my teeth and enjoy it very much
  • Pointing at my teeth in the mirror and counting them – to get him to do the same
  • Offering him to brush mommy’s teeth in return
  • Buying him a new toothbrush to get him interested
  • Brushing his furry puppet friend’s teeth
  • Brushing in the bathtub

Nothing helped

Now I really don’t look forward to the brushing session. He fights, he cries and protests and I feel like a monster for forcing the toothbrush on him. On one hand I can’t give up because healthy teeth are too important and I would never forgive myself if he develops cavity. On the other hand this forever going struggle wears me down. I must come up with something fast because otherwise I’m afraid that Eric will associate the brushing with something negative and those things tend to stick.

My latest idea was to use the electric toothbrush. Eric always watches Rob and me brushing with it and seems fascinated by it – I’m just not sure it is suitable for little kids. The packaging says it’s not recommended till they are 3 years old and my son is only 15 months. I will still ask my dentist and if he says its fine, then electric brush it will be. Whatever works!

My dear readers, do you have any suggestions for me? What works for your kids? What are your best tricks?