Getting Children To Brush Their Teeth

Does anyone else have major trouble with teeth brushing in 10 year olds? Are they truly capable of doing a good job? My son is prone to decay big time, while my daughter is not. I never really checked her brushing skills, because she never had a cavity at her check ups and still doesn't at age 18.

DS is another story. He has ADHD, but I don't know that should interfere with his skills. Is it possible he is not able to improve this skill? I've taken over because his teeth are being ruined and because of the dental bills. Having the doctor and dentist talk to him does no good.

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He needs braces, but I fear his teeth will just rot. I have taken over the brushing at night recently, because he is too young to realize the impact his poor care will have on his future health. It doesn't matter what incentive or punishment we come up with. It still boils down to the same thing. He doesn't care and even if I make him do them over 5 times, they are still not satisfactory. I think he has the ability.

By Arlinn from NY

October 20, 20090 found this helpful

Arlinn,

Sorry to hear you're having such difficulty with your son & his teeth. My daughter is six, and she doesn't like to brush her teeth. Sometimes we can get her to do it (she'd rather have Daddy brush them), but we have to check and go over areas again.

Since your son is older, is he becoming more concerned about/aware of his appearance? Or girls? (I know, we don't like to think about that) If he is, maybe you can use this to help motivate him. Tell him how he'll look nicer if his teeth are clean. Or that girls don't care for bad breath.

If he doesn't care about these things yet, I'm not sure what else you can do. HE needs to want to do it, or else he won't be motivated. Hope you get some good advice. Best of luck!

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October 20, 20090 found this helpful

P.S. My best friend has a 16 year old son with ADHD. For several years he's been very particular about his appearance. He likes to "look good for the girls." (Yeah, I know . . . ) He dresses nicely, and fixes his hair. I've never heard my friend complain about his dental hygiene, but I assume he'd want clean teeth/fresh breath "for the girls," too. So, in his case, it seems that ADHD didn't negatively affect his personal hygiene.

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October 20, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, my son has ADHD and is 9, so a similar situation. His teeth aren't too bad yet but he sure fights me on brushing. His younger brother isn't any better so I think it is just a boy thing.

One thing we do is have our boys rince with the Cool Blue mouthwash, I think there are other brands too. This will dye anywhere in the mouth that wasn't brushed well with blue, making it obvious where they missed. Your dentist can give him tabs to chew that do the same thing. You might also want to ask about getting a sealant put on his adult teeth.

I find that with my son, if the expectations are clear and don't change, he will fall into line eventually. He is happiest when the rules are cut and dried. We have a list of morning and evening tasks posted several places in the house, to remind them what to do next. Good luck!

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October 20, 20090 found this helpful

HI! One thing you can do if they don't brush properly is: Use Xylitol instead of sugar. Xylitol, recommended by dentists, changes the chemistry of your mouth and actually prevents cavities. You can cook and use it just like regular sugar, because it too is just regular sugar...just not from a sugar cane is all. Tastes great and no aftertaste, and unlike Splenda, its good for you! There is also no problem with blood sugar going crazy like when you eat sugar-cane sugar. So try it. Whaddya got to lose? :-) ALSO try gum with Xyliol. If they chew it after they eat, they'll get a lot less cavities!

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October 22, 20090 found this helpful

I have 3 kids

1 girl 13 year old - 2 boys 12year old & 10 year old

all 3 have ADHD in diff degrees

the girl - no problems

12 year old boy use to give me problems & he has the worst ADHD with ODD

but it is the 10 year old that is giving me the hardest time.

*there is not much sugar in the house so not an option to change sugars

*cool blue is too expensive to buy because the kids miss use it

*I refuse to do it for him

His teeth are bad with some minor cavities (dentist every 6 months)

and his teeth tend to change colors - orange like cheddar cheese and some black like mold (these go away when he starts to brush his teeth again).

The only way I cope because I have yet to find a solution is. Outside embarrassment from his peers (the discoloration is all over his front teeth to see whenever he talks or smiles) or I withhold things that he wants or is in need of until he brushes, but the second part comes with blood curdling screams of a temper tantrum and I have to stay cool, calm, collected and steadfast until it passes.

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October 22, 20090 found this helpful

I've found that since I purchased an Oral B rechargeable toothbrush, I can get my teeth cleaner in less time. Maybe that will help you with your problem. It moves around a lot and I like the little round head of the toothbrush. I have small teeth and the head fits over each tooth individually.

Additionally, I suggest you ask your dental hygenist which "mouthwash" he should use. I know Biotene has a formula that removes plaque. but I am sure there are other less expensive brands that do as well. Plaque removing liquids get into all the little nooks and crannies where toothbrushes can't reach.

I heard a joke ad on the radio recently. The dentist said, "Only floss the teeth you want to keep!" Please try to keep dental health as much fun as you can. Its the only way you will be able to win.

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October 22, 20090 found this helpful

Something I did was find some really nasty, graphic pictures of decayed and rotting teeth on the net to show them to help them visually understand this is what can happen to your teeth if you do not brush properly. Also, maybe if you get one of the battery operated toothbrushes that might help. Kids love those and they do a more thorough job even of the child does not. HTH!

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October 22, 20090 found this helpful

It isnt just a boy thing. My DD is almost 9 and she doesnt care bout her appearance. I will try to find some pics online of the rotted teeth and show them to her. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

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October 22, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you all for responding. I think I will try the pictures of rotting teeth and hang them up in the bathroom next to the tooth brushes. I did buy the oral B rechargeable tooth brush but it doesn't intrigue him at all. It's so easy too, no effort, just go over each tooth slowly and it does it all for you. Also tried the ones that play songs. A waste of money for us. I am in the process of another abscessed tooth and root canal. Have had several and even though he sees the unbearable pain I go through, he still doesn't think it will happen to him.

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October 22, 20090 found this helpful

My sons are autistic and I had the same problem. I let them pick out a battery operated toothbrush and bought the cool blue rinse and now they do a better job but I still have to check and sometimes make them redo the job. The youngest is 9 .The blue rinse helps a lot and the little one thinks its cool. Give it a try, it can't hurt anything and maybe it will help but you will probably have to check his teeth at least 3 or 4 more years.

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