How we got Louise to brush her teeth

by Philippe

How to get my 1-year old daughter to brush her teeth (or realistically, accept that we brush her teeth)?

Where we were

Getting Louise to brush her teeth is a tough task for Anna and me these days. That is, the simple view of a toothbrush was enough to repulse Louise into oblivion. Not sure whether she despises the taste of the toothpaste or the feeling of having a plastic tool full of scratchy bristles in her mouth. Nonetheless, it is vital for us not to give up this fight but to convince her (and not force her!) that brushing her teeth is a fun and healthy task.

What we did about it

As a result, we tried different kinds of toothpaste. Something has to do with the taste of the paste. My take is that the sweeter would be better. However, we were not sure that Louise shared this view. We had the bad luck to try a kind that I felt would be sweeter due to the strawberry taste. Indeed, that revolted Louise. She threw her toothbrush every time she got a hold of it during the last few times we dared to use some of that paste (I think she could tell it was poisonous one due to smell or colour). Some sort of early protest? This tooth-rebellion has been happening for the past weeks. This lead to us feeling stuck.

Consequently, Anna bought a new toothpaste and a new toothbrush with animals at its base yesterday. A needed change of tactic.

We thought it was also good to add some fun and education into it. We ordered a book explaining the journey of a lion with poor dental hygiene that receives help from other jungle animals—entertaining and a great message. The elephant uses its trunk to give a mouthwash. You get the idea. I think Louise visualized the dirty teeth of the lion and realized that getting clean teeth is something for everyone. Even for the bravest of jungle animals.

Establishing a routine

After reading the book together, the three of us now head to the bathroom to have a teeth-brushing party. Every-one has their toothbrush in hand (even her stuffed rabbit). We got her to accept that we are not trying to poison her. As a result, she reluctantly agrees with a couple of strokes and has fun trying to spit out water like her dad. We are getting there…*

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