Our daughter won't keep her mouth open and her head straight when we try to brush her teeth. What techniques are available to overcome such objections? Does a special kind of toothbrush such as a musical one help?

asked 27 Sep '09, 08:58

Simon%203's gravatar image

Simon 3
accept rate: 0%

edited 19 Nov '09, 01:58

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦


How old is your daughter?

(27 Sep '09, 13:18) Tammy ♦♦

14 months old now

(27 Sep '09, 15:26) Simon 3

When our son was around that same age, we let him start playing around with a small toothbrush in the bathroom (supervised, of course). He would stick it in his mouth and basically chew on it, but it got him used to the feeling of the bristles on his teeth and gums. We slowly transitioned that into him letting us actually brush his teeth. We would first let him play with the brush himself for a few minutes, and then say something like "ok, daddy's turn".

He's almost 2 years old now, and he actually asks to brush his teeth!


answered 27 Sep '09, 16:35

Brandon's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%


We do that too except backwards. We brush first and then let our daughter have a turn.

(28 Sep '09, 08:07) Sabrina

My dentist recommended the following to me: When they are small and you are still brushing their teeth for them, sit them on your lap or stand behind them (facing away from you) and come around from behind and brush their teeth. It can seem really overwhelming/scary to a child to have someone jabbing a toothbrush directly in their face. It worked well with my daughter.


answered 28 Sep '09, 02:46

Staci's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


When our daughter doesn't cooperate we do this as well. :) My husband and I laugh because she usually cries when we do this which it makes it WAY EASIER and FASTER to brush her teeth when her mouth is open in the crying position! hehe Afterwards we are like, 'wow thanks for opening your mouth so wide!'

My sister has done this technique with her son since he was little (without the crying part) and she said it works out really well too.

(28 Sep '09, 08:11) Sabrina

We have a routine set up for brushing his teeth. We try to follow this routine everyday so that our son knows when he has to brush his teeth. This usually happens immediately when he gets out of the bath. He has learned that Mommy gets to do it first and then he gets to "brush" his own teeth, which he loves! Unfortunately, this took him awhile to get used to actually brushing his teeth, so it is something you have to work through but once they are used to it, they are fine!


answered 28 Sep '09, 03:19

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

Wow, you are a good mommy giving your son a bath every day! My kids WANT to take baths every day and sometimes I'm just too tired! lol We usually brush teeth right before bed.

(28 Sep '09, 08:14) Sabrina

Our son started imitating/copying our tooth brushing habits at about 12 months. Ever since it was not difficult to brush his teeth while lying down, or standing up, that's mostly his choice. Playing, me brushing his teeth, brushing his teeth together, or him brushing my teeth, as long as we do it, he'll do it too.

Greetings from Germany

Huibert Gill


answered 28 Sep '09, 10:06

Huibert%20Gill's gravatar image

Huibert Gill
accept rate: 5%

edited 28 Sep '09, 10:34

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

A song may help:

(Sung to the tune of 3 Blind Mice)

Brush your teeth
Round and round
Circle small, gums and all
A nice soft toothbrush the round-a-bout way
Keeps your teeth clean and prevents tooth decay
So make sure you brush, every day (or So make sure you brush, three times a day)
Brush your teeth,
Brush your teeth

We brush while we sing and then turn the brush over to my daughter once we're finished.

Note: I have no idea where this song came from. My husband remembers it being on TV when he was little though.


answered 18 Nov '09, 23:49

Kate's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%

We purchased a "nice"childs toothbrush and some nice childrens toothpaste and placed them next to ours. For several nights we would go into the bathroom together with my husband, and sure enough our daughter would follow curious to see what we were up to. No explanations were needed, we started brushing our teeth. It took 3 nights before she tried to grab our brushes whereby we pointed out that she had her own... It may sound super simple but it worked for us, at 18 months I could get her attention for long enough to show her how to hold the brush properly.


answered 27 Sep '09, 19:40

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

My daughter is always trying to swipe my toothbrush! I have to keep reminding her she has her very own. My husband gets really grossed out when she swipes his and puts it in her mouth, so funny though.

(28 Sep '09, 08:18) Sabrina

I was at my wits end because my little one HATES teeth brushing. I decided to ask the pharmacist of all people if she knew of any special brushes as we had already bout 4 or 5 of them when a lady beside me said "just use a baby wash cloth". I was a bit stunned at first but it works and she tolerates it a lot better as we learn to use the 'big girl toothbrush' brush. I asked my doc about it he said it was a good idea.


answered 03 Oct '09, 03:57

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

Our routine, for several months now, is quite successful.

The bath is directly in front of the toothbrush stand, so when we put our daughter in the bath she immediately sees the brushes. She points at her brush and calls out 'teeth!' (well, she doesn't speak English, rather she calls the Hebrew word 'שיניים') and when we give her the small toothbrush she points to the tube of toothpaste and calls 'paste!'. we put some paste on her toothbrush.

At this point she asks 'mommy?' and my wife takes her own toothbrush to join the brushing ritual. If I'm there she'd ask 'daddy?' and I'd do the same. We then all brush together, her imitating us. We make exaggerated brushing sounds to encourage her, and she does her best to brush (although most of the time she just chews on the bristles...).

This started by us giving her the brush and paste at the beginning of every bath, and now it's something she expects.


answered 04 Oct '09, 12:03

Yuval's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "Title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "Title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 27 Sep '09, 08:58

Seen: 6,969 times

Last updated: 19 Nov '09, 01:58