Physically forcing a child to put something that tastes horrible and bitter in their mouths as "punishment" is abuse. Toothpaste (yes, it's poisonous if eaten in large amounts) is not abusive because it's a CLEANING agent that's also been proven to fight caries and plaque. _____________________ Ok then, try going without toothpaste for a year. I'm sure your mouth will look lovely and veeeeeeery kissable. And yes, I do agree that corporal punishment is ok in some situations. An occasional spank on the behind is sometimes necessary. It doesn't mean a child has to be humiliated, made to open his/her mouth, forced to endure a horrid taste, while being "physically/mentally dominated" by their parent. I dont think that will benefit anyone in the scenario. My 5-year-old doesn't get spanked, but she really responds to the tone-of-voice used when we're upset with her behavior. She also gets time-outs. Not in her room, but we have her sit in a chair and have some quiet time. When she's calm, then we do have a talk about the way she behaved. It always works, and I would NEVER resort to soaping her mouth. That would break my heart. _______ Edit: You're right about toothpaste being dangerous. I'm aware that eating a teaspoonful of it would be very dangerous. That's why they make children's fluoride-free toothpaste, and why we're not supposed to swallow.