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I’m All for Clean Teeth, Just Not My Toddler’s Teeth

Toddler brushing teeth

This is not my toddler. I know this because a toothbrush has never gone near her mouth.

I’m a bit obsessive about clean teeth, which means I usually look forward to my twice-annual dentist visits. After all, who doesn’t like to hear that their teeth are officially in great shape?

When I took my younger daughter Peony to her 15-month well-child visit a couple of months ago, the pediatrician told me it was time to start brushing her teeth. That’s when my enthusiasm for clean teeth came to a screeching, violent halt.

I can’t remember when I started brushing my older daughter Petunia’s teeth, but I can say with great certainty it was well past the 15-month mark. And that was thanks to a combination of laziness and dread — all on my part.

It’s not like it’s hard for me to brush my teeth twice daily. But to take on yet another task on behalf of someone else? It’s just kind of awful sometimes, if we’re being honest here. Feeding, diaper changing, bathing, dressing, strapping into car seats — there’s little that’s glamorous about parenting a toddler, and brushing the teeth of one so little is yet another chore that feels exactly like that — a chore. And a headache. And a pain.

Petunia initially liked brushing her teeth. My husband and I bragged about how much she liked it and wanted to do it all the time. Until she didn’t anymore. Now’s it’s a twice-daily battle. Although, actually, it’s like an eight-times-daily battle because of all the times we send her back because we know she either didn’t do it or did it for exactly 4 seconds.

I bought a toothbrush and toothpaste for Peony, and Petunia keeps begging me to start brushing her teeth. I think she partly wants company in her teeth-brushing misery and partly thinks it’ll be cute to watch her little sister get all foamy at the mouth with toothpaste.

I know the day is coming soon that I’ll really have to do it — mostly because her 18-month well-child visit isn’t far off and I don’t want to get in trouble with the pediatrician. And, you know, because it’s good for her and stuff. But until then, I’m enjoy my last few days of double-duty dental freedom.

Photo credit: iStock

More from Meredith on Babble’s Toddler blog:

Read (even) more from Meredith at Babble’s Mom blog, follow her on Twitter, and check out her weekly column on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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