Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Brushing Battles
    Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
    Is brushing teeth a nightly battle in your home? Until your child can shower and wash her own hair, she still needs help with her oral hygiene. To prevent brushing battles, here are some age-appropriate tips I've learned from patients, parents, and my own two boys.

    Toddler: Make tooth brushing a game. Sing a silly song. Get 3 toothbrushes so your toddler can hold one in each hand, while you brush your child's teeth with the third brush.

    Preschool: Let him choose between two flavors of toothpaste or which brush he wants to use. After he brushes for the count of 10, it's your turn for 10. Go back and forth a few times.

    Kindergarten: Allow her to do the morning brushing solo, but use an egg timer so she knows how long to brush. At bedtime, you get to help or at least take a turn after she finishes.

    Elementary School: Children this age should be able to brush their own teeth, but you may have to remind them. Ask the hygienist to give your child a personal lesson to make sure he's on track with his skills.

    Middle/High School: There may be times when your preteen or teen takes a vacation from brushing. Dental check-ups are crucial to let her know if she needs to ramp up her brushing and flossing. If all else fails, you can always point out that skipping out on the twice a day regime may result in bad breath -- a sure way to keep friends and companions away.

    Don't forget to take a fun trip to the pediatric dentist every 6 months. Have any teeth brushing tips to share? Let me know. I'd love to share them with my patients.

    Dr. Tanya

    kahansen responded:
    We play a game of finding the "sugar bugs". My toddler gets to point in her mouth of where they're hiding and I go after them with the toothbrush. When she spits, I wash the "sugar bugs" down the drain.
    Tilly021883 responded:
    What should you do when you have been exposed to meningitis...
    Louise_WebMD_Staff replied to Tilly021883's response:
    You should call your doctor for further information on how to proceed. Here is more information on Meningitis to help you understand this disease.
    Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
    The number of toothbrushes on the market baffles me. Is there a particular type that is better or features that I should look for when choosing a toothbrush?

    Timer? No timer? Is a battery operated brush better? Better enough to justify the cost? Soft, medium or hard bristles?
    janesmith2010 responded:
    I have to challenge my 5-year-old daughter. I just tell her "I bet you cannot make as many [toothpaste> bubbles as I can!" And then I start brushing my teeth. She is kind of competitive. She just recently lost her 2 bottom baby teeth and she as happy as can be that she is a big girl now! And after brushing we love ACT mouthwash with bubble-gum flavour that provides fluoride.
    Emmyl responded:
    We're still just trying to get our 14 month old not to suck the tooth brush when we're brushing the few teeth that he has. lol He's getting better though. We'll tell him, "let's brush your teeth" and he'll stand up or go to the bathroom and open his mouth.
    sarahann1978 replied to Emmyl's response:
    Emmyl, I am so jealous, my DS is 19 months and he hates having his teeth brushed, and always has. He loves to hold the brushes, we are up to three at a time now two for him to hold and one for us, but when it comes time for Mom or Dad to help look out! He really hates us getting into his mouth. He also hates having his nails trimmed, but lately he has been less defiant about that.
    Emmyl replied to sarahann1978's response:
    They are so funny at this age. I can just picture your LO with a tooth brush in each hand while you are trying to do this. Jack doesn't mind having it done. I think he likes it. But we put this baby orajel (sp?) toothpaste on his tooth brush so it's hard to get him not to suck it off. Not a lot of room to maneuver the tooth brush. Do you just use a wet tooth brush or do you put anything on it? I know you aren't supposed to put regular tooth paste on it, but Orajel makes this stuff that's infant toothpaste. It's completely safe to swallow. It must taste pretty good. I think we got it at Target. It can with one of those finger brushes.
    sarahann1978 replied to Emmyl's response:
    Make sure you picture him kicking, screaming and clenching his mouth shut, LOL! Oh yes, he gets the baby toothpaste on all three and chews/licks it off. I personally think it tastes awful, but we tried a couple of different flavors and he prefers a certain one. I bought one of those finger brushes way back, but DS has 16 teeth and I'm not sacrificing my finger, I just simply draw that line.
    Emmyl replied to sarahann1978's response:
    Haha It's a good thing they're so cute! lol

    Helpful Tips

    Son Peeing
    I have a suggestion for the parents with the boy that is peeing in the house. Maybe he needs the "freedom" of peeing. I would let him go ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    0 of 2 found this helpful

    Expert Blog

    Child Health 411 - Ari Brown, MD

    Educated parents are empowered parents! Get clear answers to your parenting questions from Dr. Ari Brown...Read More

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    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.