How do I get my toddler to brush their teeth?

Just like trying to get your kids to eat vegetables, convincing them to brush their teeth consistently can be a tricky prospect. With that being said, it is critical to your child\'s long-term oral health that they establish good habits early. Here are some tips from our Camrose dentists.

On some days your child may enjoy the brushing experience, but often, they may put up a fight. It's very, very important that your kid has their teeth brushed at least twice each day. And until your child reaches the age of eight or so, they won't have the manual dexterity to take care of this themselves so you will be responsible.

Always remember that it needs to get done, regardless of whether your child is looking forward to it or not. You would never allow your child to sit in a soiled diaper just because they don't want their diaper changed, so you shouldn't allow food or plaque to sit on your kid’s teeth just because they don't want them to be brushed.

There are times that it can be a struggle to get your kid to brush their teeth. One of the best strategies is to try to make the process fun. Like most things, routine is critical.

Here are some tricks to get your kids excited about brushing:

  • Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush. 
  • Offer small rewards for challenging toddlers after brushing – like stickers, reading a favourite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
  • Let your toddler or child hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you hold their brush to brush their teeth. Usually, this is a fun way that they enjoy brushing. 
  • Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
  • How you ask can allow them to feel some independence. You might ask “Which toothbrush would you like to use?” instead of “Are you ready to brush your teeth?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth?” They'll feel involved in the decision and be more likely to cooperate.
  • Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favourite toys after you brush your own. Talk about how important it is that their toy takes care of their teeth. Most toddlers, upon seeing how much their toy loves having their teeth brushed, will want theirs done also.

if your toddler isn't impressed with any of the above methods, you can try to use a small piece of pre-formed gauze to rub at their teeth and help clean them. If your dentist recommends that you use fluoride toothpaste for your child, make sure you are using only a dab. 

If you would like to learn more tips about brushing your toddler's teeth, contact our Camrose dentists today

(780) 679-2224