I remember when my eldest was a toddler. For a very long time, teeth brushing was an absolute nightmare. I don’t know what it is that they dislike about having their teeth brushed, but it seems that they really don’t like it at all.
We tried everything, really we did. Different toothbrushes. Letting him have a go himself before trying to ‘help’ him. We tried a variety of different songs to go with the brushing. Even the odd tooth brushing dance here and there.
Nothing worked. Nada.
And so quite simply, it came down to the point where every night we had to pin him down to brush his teeth. It wasn’t pleasant…it wasn’t fun – but it was very much required.
Why did we need to do it?
If there is one thing that I am pretty strict on with my boys, it’s good dental hygiene. I have spent years having holes filled in my teeth and I even had to have a root canal done at the age of 18. I blame this on my dear departed Dad for passing his weak teeth onto me!
Really, I don’t want my boys to go through that and I don’t want them to have to have fillings at a young age. And so I am strict. They don’t eat many sweets, I limit the amount of juice the eldest has, and I make sure they brush their teeth – especially in the evening after a day of eating.
My almost 18-month-old has pretty much got a full set of teeth. He seems to have developed them way quicker than his brother and therefore I’m already quite strict with his teeth brushing habits. At first, all was going well. He actually enjoyed it. He liked having a little go himself and also allowed us to do it for him. At that point, I started to think that we had struck gold with this one.
And then it started to go wrong
First up he wasn’t appreciative of the standard toothbrush. He much preferred his brother’s one that buzzes, so we got him his own one specially designed for babies.
On the first go, he loved it. Second, go wasn’t too dissimilar. The more we did it though, the harder it started getting. He started wanting to do it himself, so we allowed him like we did with the eldest. After a quick suck on the brush, it ended up being launched into the bath and broke. £10 down the drain and us back on Amazon buying a new one.
Good grief he isn’t a fan. He’s not yet quite as bad as his brother was but I just know it won’t be long before he is. We already have to hold his arms down while one of us brushes. Luckily he doesn’t yet thrash around like his brother did. We still let him have a go himself but they need a proper brushing and so that is what we must do, whether he likes it or not!
I am sure that there are people that will be frowning at this. Judging, shaking their heads in anger that we have done, and still do, have to do this. But just like with my eldest, it is just a phase. He is five now and has absolutely no recollection of the nightmares we had when it came to brushing his teeth. Has absolutely no memory of us holding him down whilst we brushed and he thrashed around in anger. And I am the proudest of proud when I take him to the dentist and they tell me that he has perfect teeth.
The professionals say that parents should brush their children’s teeth until they are at least seven. The dentist said to me, even when he is beyond that, it is still best for us to have a go to make sure every bit is clean.
So I shan’t feel guilty for the times when I have to pin my littlest down to brush his teeth. I would far rather know that he has nice clean teeth than worrying that I’ll have to be pinning him down in a dentist’s chair whilst he is having a filling at a young age.
So if you are out there, with a toddler who doesn’t like teeth brushing. Probably for the first time as with experience comes less guilt! You may worry that forcing them to do it will have a negative effect on them. They don’t remember, and almost every time it happens, it is forgotten as soon as it is over.
Be proud of those gleaming teeth my friend :)