How are rotten teeth fixed

Can I force my child to brush their teeth?


My son is two years old and already has all the teeth. He got teeth very early on. Now it is the case that he really hates brushing his teeth, even though we've really tried everything: singing, cleaning together, while watching TV, brushing each other, sticker reward and much more. We still have daily theater, tears and screaming attacks.

This not only stresses him, but also us as parents, because we feel really bad when we have to hold him and then scrub his mouth with a toothbrush. On the other hand, our dentist said that it has to be and that many parents feel the same way. Doesn't it destroy trust and the relationship between parent and child when we are so aggressive and force them? We are really desperate because we don't know what is right.

Answer from Nadja Kupsa

I know your situation very well. My son refused to practice oral hygiene at the age of five months. To hold on to him screaming seemed too intrusive. The solution? A clarifying discussion with a children's dentist. I've got all the advice on how I can protect my child's teeth from tooth decay - apart from brushing. Diet plays a major role in this. There is no sugar with us. When my child (barely two years old) cries for ice cream or chocolate, I tell him that there will be no sweets until we finally brush our teeth. Also, I don't offer him sweet juices, but water and tea. Another tip I got from the dentist: In the evening at least make sure that there are no leftovers in the mouth after eating. Rinse with water and give the child a toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste on it to chew on. With this approach, I no longer have such a guilty conscience when we skip brushing our teeth. (Nadja Kupsa, September 13, 2019)

Answer from Hans-Otto Thomashoff

You have really tried a lot there, and I understand that your nerves are now on edge, with you and your child. It's probably about two levels:

Firstly, about brushing your teeth itself. And there are only two options: Either it is brushed or not. The dentist is in favor of the first variant, your feeling is now in favor of the second, because they want to spare your child from feeling like you have been raped. It's not that bad, though. Just as there is no drama if your teeth are sometimes not brushed. This is supposed to happen even to adults without their teeth falling out immediately. As is so often the case, the answer here should start with your feelings. So it seems important to take the drama out of it. Your child is already stressed when it starts - and so are you. Besides, it's still too young to understand why that is. My advice: stay tuned and try it, make it clear to him that you want that, but if he absolutely doesn't want to, then don't clean before the whole thing escalates.

On the second level, it may be that your child is slowly arriving in defiance. This is the wonderful time when a child realizes that things don't always go as they would like, with violent fits of anger as a result. These cannot be avoided and are also important as an experience, because the child experiences that it is allowed to be angry and that the world does not end as a result. However, you should stick to your wish to brush your teeth. Maybe with a trick: offer him alternatives that he can decide for himself: the green or the blue toothbrush, mom or the previously uninvolved grandma and so on. Be creative to turn the power struggle into a game. (Hans-Otto Thomashoff, September 13, 2019)

Answer from Linda Syllaba

My teacher, the Danish family therapist Jesper Juul, had a very clear stance on this topic: In a situation like this, parents have to choose between their teeth and their relationship with the child. Yes, a physical assault in the form of an act of violence against toothbrushing definitely damages the relationship between parents and child.

First of all, it is not uncommon for your son not to want to brush his teeth. It is also a rather annoying compulsory program, even if we parents let it be great fun creatively. If, as you describe it, the situation has already proceeded like this, however, we have to assume that a "negative ritual" has crept in, which must first be broken in order to then re-establish another, positively charged ritual.

Therefore, I recommend speaking to the child in this sense: "I know that you don't like brushing your teeth, for me the constant arguing is also exhausting. That's why I want to find a way together with you, how we can make it so, that it is as comfortable as possible for all of us. My suggestion is that we do it from now on (for example): Right after dinner we go brush our teeth, then we do xy and then we do xz. What do you think? " At this point it is also desirable to ask the child directly what they need to make brushing their teeth easier and what suggestions they have of their own.

Most children simply don't care about their dental care and, of course, cannot foresee the long-term importance of oral hygiene. That's why they have us, and we can remind you of that by saying: "I am your mom / dad and my job is to take care of you and your teeth. Even if you don't like it, it's me." important, and I won't stop until we find a way. " Your own clarity is crucial here. The jointly developed new process should now be adhered to! You will have to remind yourself to stick to it with gentle emphasis until the new ritual is in flesh and blood.

In general, it can help if the adults themselves brush their teeth together with the children, because setting an example is also important here. You could make another game out of this to increase the "joy" of brushing your teeth: We brush each other's teeth at the same time. Me you and you me. Let's see how quickly they get clean ...? (Linda Syllaba, September 13, 2019)