Sometimes your child might enjoy brushing their teeth, but often, they can put up a fight. However, it's very important that your child has their teeth brushed at least twice a day. Until your child is approximately eight years of age they won't have the proper dexterity needed to do a good enough job brushing their own teeth.
Always remember that this has to be 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 when it can be a fight, so try to make it fun. Like most things, routine is key.
Ways To Get Your Toddler Excited About Brushing Their Teeth
- 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.
- Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
- Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush.
- Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favorite 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.
- 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.
- Offer small rewards for challenging toddlers after brushing – like stickers, reading a favorite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
If your toddler isn’t impressed with any of these methods, try using a piece of gauze to rub on their teeth. There are some pre-formed gauze pieces just for this purpose. If your dentist recommends using fluoride toothpaste once a day, just a dab is all that is necessary.