Stop the Toothpaste Madness!
March 12, 2018 7:57 AM   Subscribe

We have had one child-related toothpaste catastrophe too many, and I need solutions that will let my 6- and 8-year-olds get their own toothpaste, but WITHOUT getting it all over my damn bathroom. Portion control is a plus.
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Years ago, someone wrote Miss Manners because his in-laws got angry when he put dabs of toothpaste on pieces of wax paper in the bathroom so they wouldn't use too much. (As I recall, they sent him a case of toothpaste.) Perhaps something like that is OK for small children?
posted by FencingGal at 8:00 AM on March 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

Many automatic dispenser options are available and I would pick this one if I were to pick one out. You have to put the toothbrush (or your finger I guess) in the hole to get a dollop of toothpaste. Now, if it were me as a child, I would hold down the button, but perhaps your children will not.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:15 AM on March 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Google toothpaste dispenser for kids. Runs about 10 bucks. Get one that won't tip when it dispenses. Sorry can't help you with them spitting and not rinsing and wiping around the sink. Making them clean their own bathroom finally works, at least by the time they get their own place. (Yes, for your own sanity you will need to clean it occasionally. Just don't let them see you.)
posted by BlueHorse at 8:18 AM on March 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'll be following this closely, as my brother - who has a developmental disability which makes these sorts of tasks challenging for him too - has been using the (now discontinued and consequently outrageously expensive) Mentadent toothpaste pump for well over a decade. I like the looks of the other pumps, but they look fiddly enough that he might accidentally break it or dislodge the tube(s), so I'm hoping for something equally simple and easy to operate.

Note: the dispenser does need to be cleaned from time to time, but it's slow enough (operated by his hand) that he gets it on the brush every time and the only clean-up is the left over squidge on the dispenser bit itself.
posted by pammeke at 8:20 AM on March 12, 2018

Toothpaste tabs? Like you use for backpacking?

I put small amounts of toothpaste in contact lens cases for travel. That might work, but you will have to refill it every week or so.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 8:22 AM on March 12, 2018

Is the issue that kids can't accurate dose a toothbrush because the act of carefully squeezing the tube is too tricky, or that the little gremlins are just purposely squeezing out loads and making a mess even though they know they shouldn't?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:24 AM on March 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

As much as you want them to be independent at this age, 6 and 8 yr old kids are not brushing their teeth well enough to be doing it unsupervised, even the best and brightest (I'm a dentist, so I know this). My suggestion would be to put the toothpaste on for them, show them how it's done, and tie the next "big kid" reward into doing things like this properly. the world doesn't need landfills full of "automatic toothpaste dispensers" (this is not to say that for disabled persons trying to be independent those things aren't helpful, but for
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:16 AM on March 12, 2018 [16 favorites]

I like the wax paper idea, but the toothpaste may dry out overnight. Can you squeeze out single-size "servings" into one of those M/T/W/Th/F pill boxes for the entire week? Then the toothpaste would be covered and they'd still get their single serving. I guess you'd need one pill box for each kid.

On second thought, that automatic dispenser (that blnkfrnk linked to) looks pretty great...
posted by onecircleaday at 10:34 AM on March 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

We used to just buy the kids toothpaste that came in pump-style dispensers instead of tubes until they got old enough to be trusted with tubes. Those kept the mess to minimum, although I felt guilty about the environmental impact of chucking the plastic dispensers every time they ran out.

they still can't be trusted with tubes, but they are certainly old enough that they should be ....
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:52 AM on March 12, 2018

My kids (7&9) have been self-dispensing for years, but In The Beginning, they were heavily supervised. My younger one finds the Aquafresh Kids tube much easier to dose out than the squeeze type tubes. I think yours are old enough to be preparing their toothbrushes on their own, but it sounds like they need some re-education on the subject.

In the same vein as OHenry, I don’t think kids this age can handle proper, effective tooth brushing on their own. My kids brush their own in the morning so that they learn the muscle memory and I brush them in the evening for thoroughness.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 12:38 PM on March 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I bought this toothpaste dispenser a few years ago for the same reasons as you articulated. It's mechanically actuated, so it only dispenses a small blob at a time, and pumping rapidly doesn't get that much more out. I went from buying a tube per week to maybe 2 months between purchases, and it's not really that I begrudge them the toothpaste, because it's a small price to pay for dental health, but the WHAT THE FUCK WHERE DID ALL THE TOOTHPASTE GO IT'S BEEN FIVE DAYS ASDFJK;AFHJKJHK; incidents are just too stressful for things that don't have to happen, y'know? And sure, in a perfect world, I'd oversee their brushing and flossing and their rooms would be picked up before playtime and screen time would be rigidly controlled and they'd practice the viola an hour before school every day and this is not that world, so I paid $15 for one little bit of piece of mind. So many other goddamn things to worry about in this world, at least the sink isn't automatically a disaster area six hours after I clean the bathroom.
posted by disconnect at 1:04 PM on March 12, 2018 [6 favorites]

Yes, nthing the pump style dispensers. I recently switched over for exactly the same reason and things are much better. I also have slight issues with the plastic waste of the dispenser but once they're old enough to go back to the tube, we will.
posted by Jubey at 1:06 PM on March 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

What about those mini travel size tubes? Would that be enough portion control?
posted by janepanic at 3:42 PM on March 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

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