Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The small blue instrument of torture

Little E does not like to brush her teeth. Correction: she does not like to have her teeth brushed. She is perfectly happy to "brush" her teeth, ie, walk around chewing on a toothbrush. She is happy to "brush" her teddy's "teeth." She is happy to use her toothbrush, or Mummy's toothbrush, to smear toothpaste in and around Mummy's mouth. 

But when it comes to having her teeth brushed? It is a two person job. One to hold her hands away from her mouth, the other to hold her still with one hand and brush her teeth with the other, while she screams as though extremely bad things are happening to her. It doesn't make any difference if someone else brushes their teeth at the same time as her, or if she gets to look in the mirror while it happens, or if songs about brushing teeth get sung, or if someone reads a book to her at the same time. She gets cream (moisturiser) on her back and tummy, which she loves, as a "reward" after brushing her teeth, but it doesn't seem to make brushing anymore attractive to her. I laughed when I read something which said toddlers should brush for two minutes as we're lucky to manage 20 seconds.

Needless to say, it is a pretty unpleasant process. I thought about taking a break from brushing to try to defuse the trauma but when I managed to look in her mouth while we were outside one day I could see plaque on her teeth. Obviously the 20 seconds we're managing isn't really cutting it.

Does anyone have any tips? Or know of any picture books that feature children brushing teeth? 


Image from


Mum's the word said...

Ha I was thinking last night how anyone gets there toddler to brush for two minutes is beyond me too! Bubbaroo is torture to brush.. he loves chewing on the toothbrush as well !

Di said...

Kel over at Three Lil Princesses has a great post about brushing teeth - my daughter loves watching her video of her daughter. It might work for E too.
We've also recently started looking for animals in her mouth when we brush (but first we have to make lots of bubble so they won't be shy). It's taken time, but now brushing is a lot more fun for everyone.

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