Ask Amma

Brushing Teeth

In How on 18 December 2012 at 3:52 am

Help! My son won’t brush his teeth.

– mother of a 2 year old in Abu Dhabi

Brushing teeth is something that we tend to do at times of the day when we have one eye on the clock, be it for eating breakfast and getting out of the house, or for getting to bed.

For those who are yet new to the task of teeth-brushing, and who may not be particularly keen to get out of the house or to get to bed, what incentive is there to brush? Let alone to brush quickly – hence leading the time-sensitive parent to conclude “he won’t brush.” Maybe your son needs more time to brush, and for brushing to be more fun and meaningful. Explain in a matter-of-fact, non-threatening way, why we brush our teeth and try to incorporate tooth-rushing into a pleasant family routine.

Here are some more things you can try:

1) Say something like: “Hey Lou, it’s party time! Junior just ate some yummy food and some of it is still there around his teeth. Call all your friends and let’s get some! Those are the bugs talking, they are coming to eat some food and multiply. They are in for a shock when the toothbrush comes in!”

2) Brush each other’s teeth.

3) Put the tooth powder / tooth paste on each other’s tooth brush.

4) Brush at a time of day when you aren’t in a rush.

5) Diversify your teeth cleaning methods so that the pressure is not on brushing alone. Swish with water or eat apple, carrot or celery, especially after sticky or crumbly foods.

Most of the above come from our own experience. Now it all seems so long ago!

Gentle reader
, what are some ways you have encouraged toothbrushing?   Please comment and share your tips and techniques.

  1. […] or blue one, which some suggest as a way to distract a child from the question of whether or not to brush the teeth at all. My intent is always to allow for choice, not to […]


  2. What we did is some thing similar to what Aravinda discussed here..Stories are something that mainly worked for us. Telling genuinely why we have to brush our teeth in a story that he can understand is something that worked best rather than telling that there is a surprise if you brush…etc..

    2. He wanted to put his tooth paste on his tooth brush everyday ..( taking out his tooth brush, opening the tooth paste cap, tasting it, and washing it under running water seemed so much fun)).that way too he got much interest in brushing .but you do have to let go some of the things like ..Initially there was lot of tooth paste wasting, not cleaning all the teeth, more water use etc but all things got better just in few weeks time..what we did was all the time we use to stand by his side and say in simple one words..when he took lot of tooth paste we quietly told him that is a lot! when he took less ..then we said ..this is less…and then he figured it out how much he wanted so that it doesn’t fall of the tooth brush but still he could taste it and rub on his teeth. It just took a little extra minute every morning but it was worth it.

    Hope this helps..Happy brushing..

    Charan Amma


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