How we got our 18-month-old to brush his teeth

Our little Chap got his first tooth at about three months old. Despite the screaming, sleepless nights and various minor ailments (“Oh, he has a runny nose? Must be teething”), he decided that he quite liked having a tooth and so produced a few more. By age one he had all but two of his gnashers, which have arrived subsequently.

They tell you – ‘they’ being health visitors, dentists, general well-meaning folk – that you need to start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear. Which is fine for them to say, because they’re not the ones who need to put their hands near the mouth of your extremely toothy child.

Just look at those!

The chap never liked having his teeth brushed. We got him those round toothbrushes with the thumbhole in the middle. We got various toothbrushes printed with characters he was, at best, only vaguely familiar with. He did not like having the toothbrush in his mouth.

Like the good parents we are, we tried to forcibly brush his teeth for him. He proved to be surprisingly strong, and very stubborn.

We tried distraction. At one point there were three toothbrushes, two parents and one big sister involved. He was not to be fooled, and retaliated by developing a lizard-like ability to lock his teeth on any incoming object, whether it was a toothbrush or a finger.

We had pretty much reached the end of our resources of patience and ingenuity. We didn’t particularly want all of his baby teeth to turn brown and rot away. Nor did we want to have a 15-minute ‘Battle of the Bathroom Sink’ every morning and evening, and risk further damage to our fingers.

Then Santa came.

Or, more accurately, we bought his big sister a Disney Princess electric toothbrush to go in her Christmas stocking. Since that fateful morning, December 25th, he has been absolutely obsessed with it. He even let us brush his teeth with it!

Obviously his sister wasn’t best pleased at having to share her toothbrush with him, so this week we finally got around to buying him his very own Batman electric toothbrush. It cost £3 and it is worth every one of those 300 pennies. He doesn’t have the first clue who Batman is, but he likes that you need to turn it on, and that it buzzes in his mouth while we brush his teeth.

Seems like Batman’s been in the toothbrush game a while.

Thanks for reading,


Anyone else had a similar experience? Or something their baby/toddler just refused to do, until you found an ingenious solution? Let us know in the comments below.

Please don’t comment sharing a link to some article saying that electric toothbrushes are going to ruin our kids’ teeth. I just couldn’t handle it.

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