October 13, 2020 at 9:22 am #185953
I have had ADHD for a long time. (I’m a Grandmother.) I’ve been brushing my teeth (and flossing them, and brushing at the base and behind my last molars) for 40 years. Because I have ADHD and I hate brushing my teeth with a passion (sensitive mouth) it took me 20 years to finally be able to overcome my revulsion and just do it. But it only works if I do it almost OCD-like, in an exact procedure, leaving them shining and smooth. Only then can I overcome my revulsion. But it would really help if there was a way to make it fun, like Pokemon Go makes it easy for me to want to walk. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can make teeth brushing fun?
October 13, 2020 at 12:20 pm #185977AdeleS546Participant
It is good to hear that you brush your teeth even though you find the task revolting and boring.
My fiance and I have been together for five years. He has ADHD and I do not. Within the last year or so he has basically given up on brushing his teeth. It has gotten worse with the pandemic as he no longer has to go outside of his home to work. Since he doesn’t have to go into the office he doesn’t have to brush his teeth. Because of this his teeth are literally rotting out of his head.
In the last few weeks he has started to brush them again. It is unfortunate but there’s nothing I can do about it I rarely kiss him anymore because his breath is so nasty. I know this isn’t only an ADHD thing it’s a guy thing or it can be. My ex-husband had nasty breath to he would only brush his teeth in the morning before going to work. He also smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day and drink coffee all day long and expected me to be receptive when he leaned in to kiss me.
- This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by AdeleS546.
October 13, 2020 at 12:37 pm #185980
Thanks for your insight. It must be very difficult to understand how hard this is for someone with ADHD. And I bet my overcoming the revulsion makes you feel like your partner is not trying hard enough.
Let me say that brushing my teeth remains the hardest thing I ever do. Every day. Can you imagine having to so something that stays chronically revolting to you every day, every month, every year, for the rest of your life? Can you understand that that can be extremely stressful? And that it is hard to constantly have to literally fight with yourself to overcome it? And it never gets better? I can tell you, this is very tiring. And sometimes, when I have a lot of other stress, I would rather give up on it, too.
This is why I am asking, Does anyone know how to make it fun? That would lighten my load so so much!
- This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Free2Bme.
October 14, 2020 at 11:53 am #186053leftie22Participant
It sounds like you already have a great routine for getting it done, maybe you’re putting too much pressure on yourself by trying to make it fun! I don’t know anyone, ADHD or non-ADHD who considers brushing fun.
If you do want to try to make it fun, maybe listen to music while brushing, use a light-up brush, or promise yourself some kind of reward for after you brush or plan a bigger reward for yourself for every month or year that you stick to your routine?
October 14, 2020 at 2:53 pm #186083
Thank you for caring and trying to help. I really appreciate your suggestions, and the lightup brush is interesting. Maybe a bit too childish. But I feel that I have not quite yet been understood.
I am looking for a way to make it fun, in order to take the pressure off of me. Brushing my teeth every day is revolting and extremely stressful for me. And it never gets better. It is not fun and puts extreme pressure on me every morning. Making it fun would finally take this tremendous pressure off of me.
Does anyone know an app for adults that would be like Pokemon Go, but just for teeth brushing and not walking?
October 14, 2020 at 4:03 pm #186094
Isn’t there anyone who can empathize with me on this?
October 15, 2020 at 10:13 am #186134zomnipuffParticipant
I found this post because I too struggle with brushing my teeth, though not for sensory processing reasons. I didn’t have an account on the site yet, but I made one to respond to this because you deserve much better answers than the ones you’ve gotten here. Clearly you haven’t been understood. I’ve been thinking on this and had a difficult time thinking of things you can do while in the process of brushing your teeth that are fun and distracting in a game-like way, like Pokemon go, but I’ve been trying to think of other motivators that could make you feel more happy while brushing. One that I thought of is a sticker chart! Hear me out, I know you’re a Grandmother and stickers are generally considered something for kids, but you can find lovely well-illustrated stickers from artists on etsy. Having a chart in sight with art you enjoy that grows every day that you brush your teeth could help you feel more happy and proud of yourself, and maybe even distract you in the moment if you find stickers you’re excited to see make it to the chart. I’ll be continuing to think on this, and if this answer is unhelpful please let me know and why, because I’d like to help brainstorm some more ideas.
October 16, 2020 at 7:41 am #186208
Thank you thank you thank you! The sticker chart is truly an idea I haven’t thought of yet.
October 16, 2020 at 10:34 am #186199
October 20, 2020 at 9:09 am #186408AnitaHParticipant
I struggle with tooth brushing as well, although don’t feel quite the revulsion you describe. What has helped me lately is my step counter — rather than standing at the sink, I walk around while brushing, up and down hallways, around tables, etc. Not exactly “fun”, but it takes the focus away from the icky gum sensations and can be a self-imposed challenge each time to change up the route and increase the number of steps (also helpful for the daily count — during Covid, it’s not easy to meet a step goal!). Works for me… might or might not for you.
October 21, 2020 at 11:29 am #186484
I tried the step thing (I also use a step counter watch to get me walking more) and it worked. That was a really really good idea for me! It helped me a lot!!
Thanks so much for this ingeniously simple but effective idea!
October 21, 2020 at 4:03 pm #186509AnitaHParticipant
February 3, 2021 at 8:58 pm #193235JaiSeaParticipant
I also have this problem as does my son. I started using trackers in my bullet journal and was going to create something based on ideas I found online but realized there wasnt any lol. so i went looking for reference photos of germ covered teeth and clean teeth and planned on glueing the clean ones over the dirty ones when i brushed my teeth. The reason I shared the whole story is becasuse while on the hunt for photos after reading your post didnt i find a picture of Pokemon Go tooth brushing version for kids called pokemon smile lol. hope you enjoy your new game while killing off germs to hatch pokemon 🙂
p.s. I also didnt have an account but had to share this with you 🙂 ,
February 4, 2021 at 1:36 am #193239befreeParticipant
Anita and JaiSea have given most helpful advice for me!!!!! I’m going to try the Pokemon App right away. And Anita’s step counter thing is still working, after 3.5 months.
February 4, 2021 at 2:32 am #193241befreeParticipant
Oh dear! Warning about the Pokemon app: it spies on you and sends your browsing history to Japan (and for Europeans: the USA)!!! Be ware!!!
February 4, 2021 at 8:16 am #193246Dee3131Participant
Have you tried brushing your teeth while in the shower? Leave a toothbrush and toothpaste next to your shampoo. Spit right into the drain! It works!
February 24, 2021 at 9:51 am #195155nyx.strangeParticipant
There’s actually a lot of apps to help with that, and a Pokémon one in particular! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.pokemon.pokemonsmile
February 24, 2021 at 11:40 am #195198Rhuston773Participant
free2beme, I feel your pain. I could never come up with the right words to explain how it feels to brush my teeth. IT IS like revulsion. Perfect words. You know you have to do it, but you literally have to talk yourself into every single time. It shouldnt be that difficult to do something so easy and quick. However, I never said anything or asked anyone about it, because its embarrassing and because of the stigma that comes with telling anyone that. Just like everything else in life with ADHD, people will tell you.. Just do it, just leave on time, just put things where they belong, just make a schedule, ITS NOT THAT HARD. But That’s like telling someone with Depression, to just suck it up and get over it. UGH the lack of perspective/empathy people have is sad.
I wonder what the Aversion is to it?? I’ve been trying to figure it out for years. The one place I don’t mind doing it is in the shower, I leave a toothbrush and toothpaste in the shower. I have no idea why it doesn’t bother me there.
I’m starting to think it’s the way the toothpaste feels. The foaminess of it. YUCK… I gag almost every time i brush, except in the shower, with water running in my mouth the whole time. I dont gag at the dentist either, the granulated toothpaste they use is very satisfying to me. I have even thought about googling.. is there such a thing as a brushing your teeth phobia?
Now that i know i’m not the only one, I don’t feel as embarrassed about reaching out and researching it. SO THANK YOU for sharing.
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