Friday, May 4, 2012

Brushing Teeth

I have a love-hate relationship with brushing teeth.  I love feeling like Sadie's teeth are clean, but I hate actually doing it.  And I don't do it then I worry about cavities.  I have yet to take Sadie to the dentist, mostly because I'm scared.  It's not like you can sit her down and ask her to open her mouth and not bite any fingers that might need to get in there!!

It seems like teeth brushing should be so easy.  I mean look at this kid.  (he's cute, right?  I mean, check out that awesome bed hair!!)

Finn (a friend's son) 18 months
If Sadie could do it herself and I could just help her, or if she could watch me and want to do it, it would be a whole lot easier.  But instead, I (or someone else) has to do it all.

And she hates it.

I swear, my kid's mouth is open all day long.  But as soon as I get close with that toothbrush, her mouth is a steel trap!!  Then she does things with her tongue and lips that would shock the feeding therapist!!  Why can't she do this with her food when she's eating???  And she's so dramatic with the fake coughing and all the gagging.  Sometimes the goal is to brush those teeth without making her puke up her entire dinner.

It's traumatic for us all.

So, help me!  How do you deal with brushing your non-verbal, sensory sensitive, disabled kid's teeth and make it a fun and enjoyable experience?  Like this...

my neice and sister in law
Here are some suggestions I've gotten so far...

Vibrating toothbrush (do they make these for 2 year olds?)
Yummy flavored toothpaste (like chocolate)
Singing a song and making it a game (this works if you're patient...which I'm not)
Getting help from the OT

Can you add to the list?


  1. I care for brain damaged adults and elderly with dementia. It NEVER gets easier and as a result dental decay is common. To avoid gagging, make sure your daughter is sitting bolt upright, the toothbrush is not dripping wet and you focus on keeping the brush on the teeth and out of the throat. Easier said than done!

    1. Sometimes keeping the brush on the teeth is especially hard because her little mouth is so small!! I want to brush all the way back...then I remember that she doesn't have teeth that far back there!! It's also hard when she won't open her mouth and her tongue and teeth are in the way!! That's good advice though! Thanks!

  2. You can get vibrating toothbrushes for kids for super cheap, (look in the kids toothbrush area at Walmart or Target!) And absolutely ask the OT or whoever else you do feeding therapy with! They should have some good techniques to try!

  3. My speech therapist just pointed me to z vibe it has attachments from oral cleaning to feeding ( i can't feed now but the spoon would still be good) i told Crs and they r going to apply for the kit and i can get the vibe itself. Her mouth is small and she is very picky. I found one baby vibrating changeable tooth/ nuk like. ...but she likes it! !odd and it helps if i do it when she is playing with the water in the sink. Also my son had problems and he went from brushing to not and i used the dentist for child with special needs. And yes it was a positive visit. She agreed we would do the work while asleep. He now does his own teeth. :) he went in and showed her his teeth the second time no problem. Hope this helps

  4. This is such a great idea! Brushing children's teeth can be frustrating and this is a great way to explain it! Thank you!