Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Teeth brushing question...
    Jackie03291 posted:
    Just wondering if this is just my strange 3 year old, or if this is normal....

    So obviously we brush Ava's teeth, BUT we have really struggled with learning how to spit out the toothpaste when she is done. She has no interest in spitting it out, and I'm 99% sure that it's not just because she wants to swallow it because she likes the taste, because to be honest, she really doesn't. I will try to show her how to spit and she just can't get it, or does it after she has already swallowed the toothpaste. She gets upset about not being able to do it and now she will say before we even start brushing her teeth that she does not want to spit when she is done! LOL

    Any tips on how to teach her to spit, or is she still too young? Anyone have any experience or is your 3 year old already spitting out their toothpaste when finished brushing? The reason I am trying to push this is that at her first dentist appointment her dr. mentioned that as soon as she stops swallowing the toothpaste, she would like for us to switch her to a toothpaste with flouride in it, so just trying to get her moving.
    Jackie (27) Bryan (36) Ava 10/14/08 Baby Girl 2 Due 5/4/12
    jlynnpaine responded:
    Honestly, I haven't even tried because it seems like such a hassle to me. We brush Shae's teeth while she's laying down, because the dentist told us that is the best way to make sure you get them all clean. So to have her sit up and spit just is not something I want to tackle yet. That being said, she loves to spit and we have to remind her that we only spit in the garbage or in the sink. Granted, when she does it, it's more of a spray than actually spitting anything out. Could you try having her take a sip of water and then spit that back out? That way maybe she'd be able to get the hang of it a little bit better, since with toothpaste, there's not much in there to spit anyway. Once she got the technique down with the water, then it might be easier for her to do it with the toothpaste.
    Jodi (28), DH (24), Shaelynn (2), DD2 (due 5/16)
    lenono97 responded:
    Funny you should post this! We just switched to toothpaste with flouride last week and have also been struggling with the spitting. My DD trys and spits but either doesn't get anything out or it's too late and she has already swallowed. I use a very small amount of toothpaste to start out with. I also get the toothbrush wet so to try and get more liquid in her mouth, making it easier to spit. We also try to make it a game, getting excited and saying "hurry up and spit, quick, quick!" But, like anything else, I think it's just something to keep practicing until they get it.
    magsnemma responded:
    DD doesn't spit either, but per the dentist, we use a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste (Tom's Silly Strawberry is the only one she'll tolerate). She said it was totally fine if she swallows a tiny bit of the toothpaste, something to do with the water here not being heavily fluoridated. The dentist also said that it was ok that we don't rinse after brushing.
    Ali (34) DH (35) DD (3)
    sarahann1978 responded:
    I am in the same boat as Ali, my dentist said to just use a tiny bit of fluoridated toothpaste and don't worry about spitting if he refuses. My DS goes through phases of liking it, then being bothered by it. One thing he likes, which I know is not environmentally friendly, is Dixie cups. If I give him a paper Dixie cup of water he likes to take some water in his mouth and spit it out. Sometimes he just drinks the water though too.
    Sarah (33) DH (30) DS (Jan 2009) baby (Aug 2012)
    earleyml1012 responded:
    We are going through the same thing but like others said, our dentist said it's ok if she swallows the tiny bit of tooth paste. He told us to use a pea size amount but we actually use less than that. We've seen a pedi dentist and a normal dentist and they both said the same thing. The pedi dentist actually said that in our area it's actually ok b/c our water doesn't have that much flouride. I think with practice they will get it. We've tried the water idea but she drinks it then tries to spit, so she just doesn't get the concept yet.

    Spotlight: Member Stories

    I've been doing child care for almost 23 years. I love my job & am very knowledgeable about many aspects of childrearing, but sometimes, kids ...More

    Helpful Tips

    potty training
    Can some give me tip on how to get a 3 year old to poop on a potty chair? My and wife have been trying for several months, he took to ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    8 of 10 found this helpful

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.