My two year old is usually reluctant to brush teeth. Yesterday he fell down and wounded his bottom lip. Now he has a cut mark on the lip and there is a bit of a bump on the lip in the surrounding area of the wound. I am wondering what is best: To brush or not to brush? How to take care of the teeth? I would appreciate if you could share some experience and advise.

6 Answers 6


Honestly, if it was my toddler I would either just brush top teeth - carefully - or skip a day or two. That type of injury in a little child usually heals extremely quickly, and I think the long term goals of healthy dental hygiene will be set back more by causing some pain in the hurt lip and accidentally reinforcing that brushing teeth is an undesirable activity than it will be by missing a day of brushing. You don't want reluctance to turn to refusal and make tooth cleaning a battle.

I would avoid juice and sticky sweets for the day, make sure the last thing he has before bed is water, so as to avoid sugar being left in the mouth overnight as much as possible, and let his lip heal.


See first of all you should make sure whether all his teeth are alright from the trauma. Just check if any tooth is not moving or is painful to touch. If you are in doubt then you must take your son to the dentist to rule out a tooth fracture. Because if there is a crack in tooth then that crack may invite infections and later on so many complications.

And for the time the lip injury heals you can either use a cotton or your finger tip (with a small amount of toothpaste) to rub gently on his teeth after having food. And afterwards he can rinse with warm saline. Yes, as Meg said you should give him juices and liquid food. If your son is still reluctant to brush with cotton/finger tip then water rinses are fine. But please make sure that his teeth are safe. Hope his injury heals fast :)


I think first you need to check why the child does not want to brush his teeth?

Since he is two years old, he might resist anything to prove that he is in charge. They do these things when the parents show some kind of inconsistency. In that case, you need to work on boundaries and maybe you can brush your teeth together with all family. So he will join and not feel forced to do sth.

Secondly, there is something called "sensory integration". So, children might not be so easily adapted to new textures and tastes. So, maybe the texture of the brush is too harsh for him, or he is disgusted by the paste. In that case, maybe you can let him touch the paste by hand first. So he will get used to it. And you can change the brand.


When my 5yr old got hit by a swing in the teeth, the dentist said to always brush the teeth! But gently.

The germs in the mouth can cause more problems.

They also suggested to use mouthwash in case of difficulties.

When in doubt ask a dentist.


It is not crucial to brush with toothpaste every single day; skipping a day once in a while is fine. One way to deal with a cut on the lip is to use one (washed) hand to hold that lip, covering the cut with the soft part of the thumb/finger, while using the other hand to brush whatever is easy to brush, just with plain water. This keeps the teeth relatively clean without further aggravating the cut.

Sometimes, sharp bristles of a toothbrush may aggravate a cut to the point that an ulcer develops. The risk is small, but that would not be good. By being a bit more careful for a day or so to let the cut heal properly would hence be a good idea. The same goes for a cut on the inside of the mouth, such as due to accidentally biting the inner cheek; just be careful when brushing not to poke the cut before it heals.


You could add a "compromise" combining the need to clean the teeth and the expected pain of brushing: find a fluid that cleans the teeth without brushing. There are some mouth cleaning fluids for children (for sure without alcohol) to buy, or you can search for a reciept to mix it yourself.

This would exercise the routine of cleaning the teeth, but do no pain.

My now 6 year old had some injuries over time, from hitted lips, over himself bitten, to growing new teeth. We used this way, to establish the routine of every day cleaning mouth and teeth, but give respect to the possible pain.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .