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-=-We have a simple rule in our house, no teeth cleaning means no food, I have explained the importance and my son knows that he has to clean his teeth, we have had tantrums in the past over this but it does not usually last more than a few minutes - no breakfast is a strong motivator.-=-
Maslow's hierarchy of needs says that in order to learn, children need to feel safe and not be hungry.
Withholding food is not a way to teach a human. It is used to train dogs, but it's not even the best way to train a dog.
-=-we have had tantrums in the past over this but it does not usually last more than a few minutes-=-
You had a tantrum, or he did?
Be careful with "we."