View Full Version : Forcibly hold open DD's mouth to brush her teeth? And floss?!
10-31-2006, 04:48 PM
At DD's first checkup last month, we discovered A LOT of plaque on DD's teeth. They used some purple dye that you swipe on the teeth, wipe it off and it sticks to the plaque. Well, they wiped and DD's entire mouth was still purple. She ended up needing a thorough cleaning, and it was quite an adventure, but DD ended up with the whitest teeth I've ever seen. I always thought she just naturally had yellowish teeth, but it turns out we just weren't brushing well enough.
The dentist recommended the following method for brushing DD's teeth:
-Lie her down with her head in my lap.
-Stick my finger in her mouth and pull her lip away from her teeth so I can brush and get at the gumline.
-Brush for 3 straight minutes. They gave me a fun pink timer to enforce this.
DD's been quite the trooper and has even taken to hanging onto her lip while I brush. But in the past month, we've regressed and gone from her wanting to brush all by herself to not even trying anymore. We've since let up on the militant brushing and do a combo of her brushing and my brushing. I'm more thorough then I've been in the past, and we get close to three minutes, but I'm not forcibly holding her down to make sure I got at every last crevice.
There's no need for us to floss quite yet, but the dentist could see the need for that next year. I can't even how to get into that tiny mouth with floss!
What do you think of our dentist's instructions? By the way, I do still love our dentist, and I do understand it is their job to keep DD cavity-free, thus the reasons for their careful instruction.
10-31-2006, 06:03 PM
I did what your dentist suggested with both our children until they were about three years old. I think his instructions are fine although I don't do it for three straight minutes every single time. I do it until I feel like I've brushed each area adequately. It's tough to keep a little one still for that long, LOL!
Don't worry too much about your child not wanting to brush at the moment. She'll eventually get the urge to do it by herself again. A good compromise is to have you do the brushing and flossing at night, then in the morning, your DD can try brushing her own teeth. That's what we currently do and our kids are happy with this arrangement. :)
I had the same concerns about flossing. We using this product for them:
It works very, very well for us.
HTH and good luck.
(formerly known as jeanmick, member since Feb 2003)
DD Born Christmas Eve
DS Born Valentine's Day
10-31-2006, 06:06 PM
Three minutes is a loooonnnnngggg time! I aim for one minute with Lauren. I personally would have her stand up (no adult lies down to brush their teeth) and then do the second step if that helps and shorten the time. I wouldn't want teeth-brushing to turn into something she hates.
10-31-2006, 06:32 PM
I'm definitely keeping that flossing tool in mind. Thanks!
10-31-2006, 06:35 PM
Yeah, these steps did start to turn toothbrushing into something we both did not like. Lying down was the first thing she complained about and the first thing we eliminated. We tried it for maybe a week and gave up. I'm sure all the saliva and toothpaste trickling toward her throat wasn't too comfortable for her.
10-31-2006, 07:52 PM
DS had a cavity at 16-18ish months despite us brushing pretty well and consistently. We did at times (and still do) have to hold him down.
Most times we can get his cooperation if he gets a choice in toothbrushes (we have a lot of different kinds...the current favorite is the "firefly" one from Target which is $1 and the end blinks w/ a red light), toothpaste flavor, etc. He likes to initiate brushing. We let him brush for a while (with supervision, making sure he's actually brushing).
Our actual brushing probably lasts less than a minute, but we are pretty decent about brushing at least 3-4x a day.
I know it is really hard. I hate imposing my will on my child, so we try to be as gentle and reasonable as possible, but we also don't compromise on him having his teeth properly brushed.
We have a dentist checkup appt in mid November. Hopefully it won't go too badly.
Dentists definitely have our child's dental health at heart but IMO they often aren't sensitive to the whole picture. We were told to nightwean DS when he had his cavity. After gently but firmly telling my dentist that wasn't happening, we understand one another better ;) FWIW I was also told that the dentist sees more tooth decay in "SAHMS" because their "kids aren't on a schedule" which royally ticked me off ;) (implying my kid has a sippy of juice and cheerios in hand all day because I'm at home I guess). I definitely think they aren't always sensitive to the big picture but they try their best to prevent our kids from experiencing tooth decay, which is not fun at all.
Oh and it won't necessarily help w/ plaque but Spry products are great IMO (xylitol-containing, which can help prevent tooth decay by killing the bacteria that causes tooth decay). We do the gum and the toothpaste here.
I hope that made sense...my little guy needs to climb into bed so this is kind of disjointed thinking coming out of me ;)
10-31-2006, 09:11 PM
Have you tried getting a really fun toothbrush & yummy toothpaste? Maybe you can get her to look forward to it?
My DD is younger than yours (16 mo) but she takes iron twice a day, which stains her teeth black. So I've been brushing with this really soft finger brush using Orajel toothpaste. DD literally looks forwards to brushing her teeth.
Don't know if Orajel makes something for older kids (this one is fluoride free) but it's worth a try.
11-01-2006, 12:20 AM
i have no idea (so someone please please correct if i am wrong) but would an electric toothbrush help her be more independent and still get a good brushing? i'm not sure what age it's appropriate to start with an electric? i know my electric gets my teeth much cleaner feeling than a manual brush (i use an oralB).
Sam 5/19/05 How lucky I am that you chose me.
11-01-2006, 12:58 AM
The only thing I think is that 3 minutes is a LONNNNNGGGGG time. Heck DH and I are both dentists and DS doesn't get that long of a brushing. We use a spin brush and make sure to get in there and hit every tooth well, but we don't time ourselves...he still doesn't have 8 of his baby teeth though...I wouldn't worry about her wanting to do it yet, with time she will, but really until they are 7 or 8 they just don't have the dexterity to do a decent job, and you'll still have to get the job finished anyway. And if you can make it fun for her, it's better than forcing her mouth open. We have to switch up our games every now and then. It's been Thomas in the mouth, firetruck in the mouth...
The flossers are definitely the key to flossing kids teeth. DS actually likes them now that he's used to them (his front teeth touch already, so we floss them...that is our rule of thumb, if the teeth touch, use floss).
11-01-2006, 02:48 AM
I googled Spry toothpaste and it looks really interesting. Where do you get it? Is it more of a Target/drugstore item, or a Whole Foods/specialty store type of item?
After holding a screaming, crying DD through her cleaning, during which I almost cried myself and questioned why I consented to the cleaning, the dentist explained that she sees plenty of 2 year olds with cavities. With the amount of plaque I saw on DD's teeth, I'm sure she was well on her way to a cavity had we not gone in for a checkup.
Good luck to you on your DS's next checkup.
11-01-2006, 02:54 AM
Thanks for the suggestion.
DD's got maybe five different toothbrushes in her rotation, changing favorites periodically. She LOVES to eat the toothpaste, and she definitely looks forward to that part. She runs to get her toothbrush when it's time to brush. It's my brushing that she doesn't like.
I think we're using the same toothpaste you're using. The dentist said we could finish up our current toothpaste before moving to flouride toothpaste, since our water is flouridated.
11-01-2006, 02:58 AM
DH and I use electric as well (Sonicare). We have an electric toothbrush ready for DD whenever she wants to use it, but whenever we try it out, the sound of it scares her. I was hoping the novelty of it would appeal to her, but no luck. We bought it over a year ago and bring it out every few months to show her, but she tells us she doesn't like it. So we'll just keep trying. I'm sure it'll do a better job than the manual brush.
11-01-2006, 03:00 AM
Toothbrushing games! Never even thought about that! We do toothbrushing songs but she's heard them so much they're just not interesting anymore.
Glad to hear from a dentist. Thanks!
11-01-2006, 10:10 AM
DS has always liked to have his teeth brushed, and we've been brushing since he had teeth. We don't go three minutes, but some kids are more prone to cavities than others, so if my DS were one of them, I'd definitely do a very thorough job. As it is currently, we have three toothbrushes, so he picks whichever he's in the mood for, I do a tiny dollup of real kid's toothpaste, and I do the brushing, getting everywhere. Then he does it, getting almost nowhere, and then he "rinses," which consists of filling his cup, taking a few sips,spilling out the rest into the sink, and saying, "bwah!" for the spit part.
11-05-2006, 03:03 PM
It's more of a Whole Foods kind of item.
The company has a website, www.xlear.com, where you can order products online or find a retailer nearby. When I searched, the only three stores anywhere near me that are selling Spry are all small, specialty nutrition/supplement places.
11-05-2006, 05:11 PM
I have only found it online. www.vitaminshoppe.com often has decent prices IIRC.
DS's had a few checkups since the initial cavity (which was very small) and they've all gone well. We did have to have his filling repaired one time as the composite ones don't stay in very well (his cavity is on the back of his upper central incisor) where his is located. Amazingly he didn't cry at all during the repair (did during the initial filling but mostly because we had to hold him down :( He didn't need novacaine though...it was very superficial).
I've read a lot on xylitol now and I'm a big believer that it helps control the strep mutans growth (the bacteria that leads to tooth decay).
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