How do I get my toddler to brush their teeth?

Just like when you try to get your kids to eat their vegetables, sometimes getting them to brush their teeth can be a tricky proposition too. Despite this, forming good oral healthcare habits in your children while they are still young is very important to their lifelong dental health. Here, our Clarenville dentists provide some tips.

On certain days your child may enjoy the brushing experience. Often, though, they may protest. It's very important that your child has their teeth brushed at least twice each day. Until your child reaches the age of 8, they won't have the manual dexterity to brush their teeth on their own through.

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 when it can be a fight, so try to make it fun. Like most things, routine is key.

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

  • Allow your toddler to hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you bold their brush to brush their teeth. This can be a really fun way to teach them to enjoy brushing their teeth.
  • Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush. 
  • Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
  • Offer up small rewards for your toddler after they have their teeth brushed such as a special toy, stickers or reading their favourite book.
  • 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.
  • The way you ask your child to brush their teeth can also affect how they feel about their independence. You may ask "which toothbrush would you like to use?" instead of ""do you want to brush your teeth?" This way you involve them in the decision and they will be more likely to cooperate. 

If your toddler isn’t impressed with any of these methods, try using a piece of gauze to rub on his 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.

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

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