Toddler teeth brushing is an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing dental problems later on. Here are ten tips for parents to help their toddlers brush their teeth.
Raise your hand if your toddler doesn’t like brushing their teeth.
I know I can’t be the only mom that has a twice-daily battle with my toddler over brushing their teeth. He likes to jump, screech, run away, and refuse to open his mouth when it comes time to brush his teeth. It’s weird because he loves the idea of brushing his teeth just not the act of doing so.
But brushing your teeth is a non-negotiable in our house so I had to figure out how to get it done without a huge fight. Toddlers are rebellious so this has not been a walk in the park.
It’s taken a lot of learning, exploring, and unlearning, but I think we’ve finally reached a place where he’s no longer testing boundaries. I knew I needed to stick with a routine because it’s so important that your gums and teeth are cleaned at least twice a day. This would not only teach him good habits now, but it’ll set him up for a lifetime of great oral health.
10 Tips for Making Toddler Teeth Brushing a Breeze
If you have a toddler, I’m sure we can stand in solidarity with the fact that getting them to brush their teeth is a battle. There has definitely been a time that it was one of the top five on my list of things that made me want to scream twice a day.
Encouraging toddlers to brush their teeth can be challenging, but helping them adjust can be an exciting time for you to bond with them and teach them the importance of taking care of their bodies. The habits, such as consistency and self-care, help them set now and will be beneficial when they aren’t so little anymore.
Here are a few tips to make toddler teeth brushing a breeze:
First things first, it’s never too early to start brushing your child’s teeth. You can start cleaning your child’s gums with a soft, damp cloth as soon as they are born. Once their first tooth emerges, bring out the finger toothbrush with water on it so that they can get accustomed to the routine.
Make it fun
Children love fun activities, so try to make brushing their teeth fun. Buy a fun toothbrush with their favorite character or in their favorite color, make up a toothbrushing song, or play a game to make it more enjoyable.
Get the entire family involved
Monkey see, monkey do. Children learn by observing those around them, so make teeth brushing a family affair. Let your toddler “brush their teeth” with other family members brushing their teeth in front of them. This will encourage them to mimic the behavior and get excited about doing so. Don’t forget to go back over their teeth since they won’t be able to brush adequately just yet.
Get a fun toothbrush
It’s important to choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head, but using a fun toothbrush helps kids get excited about brushing their teeth. Here are a few toothbrushes specifically designed for toddlers, that have a handle that is easy for them to grip, and is also fun:
Get their dolls/stuffed animals involved
Encourage your toddler to brush their doll’s or stuffed animal’s teeth while you brush theirs. This works like a charm and helps with other things too such as taking medicine, eating dinner, applying lotion, etc. You would be surprised to see how excited and happy they will be when comes time to brush their teeth.
Read a book
If you’re struggling with getting your toddler to brush their teeth, try educating them on why it’s important to do so. Books are always a great way to get kids excited about trying new things. They’ll help familiarize your toddler with the act of brushing their teeth. Here are some of my favorites:
Sing a Tooth Brush Song
There are so many songs all over YouTube about brushing your teeth. This Elmo video is one of our favorites. But try a few different songs, or make up your own song together, to see what draws their interest. Once you find a song that they love, play it while they’re brushing their teeth to help distract them from the teeth brushing.
Give an Incentive
Giving incentives such as stickers, extra screen time, or an extra book at bedtime work great for kids. They’ll be so excited about receiving a prize that they’ll potentially get through teeth brushing with a breeze. It’ll be more enjoyable for both of you.
Set a routine
Establish a regular toothbrushing routine for your child and stick to it. Aim to brush twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Before you know it, they’ll be bringing you their toothbrush so that you can brush their teeth.
Brushing your toddler’s teeth can be a challenging task. But along with anything else when it comes to toddlers, patience is key. Keep trying until they get the hang of it with some gentle encouragement, some practice, and a healthy dose of routine. Don’t give up!
Yes, your toddler needs to brush their teeth but it can be so frustrating when they don’t want to do so. But start small, and continue to work at it just as you do with any habit you’re trying to enforce with them. They will start brushing eventually. Remember, good oral hygiene habits start early in life. By helping your toddler brush their teeth, you are setting them up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.