If all babies came with a manual, the world would be full of happy mothers. As in, if every child came with a manual specific to them, that would be awesome. What most mothers do (myself included) is run to books, Internet, friends, family. Most of the information is useful, but there is so much that sifting through it all can be tiring. And there is the frustration of the information not being the best fit for your little one! 

I struggled with brushing Miss T’s teeth. When she only had gums, it was easy to clean them. Then she had two little teeth and she thought it was the best thing ever! She would feed at my breast and when she was done, she would bite a little and look at me. The intensity of the bite increased and she would squeal in laughter as I winced in pain. 

Proud of her little weapons, I now had to beg to be given access to her teeth. Of course as she was growing older she also started believing she could do a lot of things in her own, including brushing her teeth. 

I had to be creative in order to be allowed access other teeth. Below are some of the methods I used:  

1. Elmo (from Sesame Street) has a cool ‘Brush your teeth’ song. I would play the song and she would dance with the toothbrush dangling from her mouth. Sometimes I sing the song until she is done. 

2. Bribery: this did not work so well when she was younger, but it works so well now. Promise her lots of things (she will have forgotten most by the time she is done).

3. Threaten: this has never worked, if anything, threatening her causes her to clam up even more.

4. Begging: Maybe I should have started with this one. Sometimes it works, but it is more effective when you throw in a song or two.

5. Character toothbrush: what has recently improved our brushing is the toothbrush. When she was younger, I just bought a toothbrush that was age and tooth appropriate. I took her shopping to buy her latest toothbrush and got the one that she had picked. She mentions the cartoon character everytime she has to use it.

Sometimes she will absolutely refuse to give me access to her teeth and I will have to use a clean cloth to clean them. 

How do you get your little one to brush their teeth without you having to beg, plead or pull your hair out? 

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