End the Brushing Wars: How to Get Your Toddler to Brush Their Teeth

Do you dread having to brush your toddler’s teeth? Does every morning and night turn into a brushing battle?

The toddler tantrums are just plain madness, but regular brushing is vital to avoid tooth decay and cavities. So, how can you end the kicking and screaming and make brushing time enjoyable?

I reached out to other real moms to compile the best tried and true ways to end the brushing wars. In this post, I will cover the top 10 tricks for brushing your toddler’s teeth – no fights involved.


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Top 10 Tricks for Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth 

1.   Add a Burst of Flavor 

Your little might just hate the taste of their toothpaste. Try to find a flavorful toothpaste that they’ll be asking to use over and over again.

We have been using  Jack N’ Jill Natural Toothpaste at our house, and it has been a big hit. Their toothpaste comes in strawberry, banana, blueberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, and even flavor-free. We’ve tried all but the raspberry so far, and my little has loved every single one.

2. Take Them Toothbrush Shopping

Let your toddler be “in charge” and let them pick out their own toothbrush. The fact that they chose it will make them more likely to actually want to use it.

There are so many fun choices out there too. From Disney characters to sparkles to toothbrushes that light up. Motorized toothbrushes are always super amusing for little ones as well.

We use the sparkly RADIUS Totz toothbrushes found on Amazon for our toddler. I like to buy multiple of them and store them in the bathroom drawer. That way when my toddler tries to brush her teeth with toilet water or tries to brush the dogs’ teeth, we can just go “shopping” for a new one in the drawer.


3. Read “Brush, Brush, Brush” 

Oh my gosh, I found this book at our local library, and it is so much fun. “Brush, Brush, Brush!” is now a regular part of our brushing routine. 

Sing this book to the beat of “Do Your Ears Hang Low” to make brushing time fun instead of a fight.  Your little will soon want to run and grab their toothbrush anytime you read this book.

And, I do apologize if they just want to read it over and over again! 😉

 

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4. Use a Mirror 

Mirrors are a great way for toddlers to learn and explore. It really helps them to focus and think about what they’re doing. Set up a mirror low to the ground or have a step stool in the bathroom, so they can easily see how they’re brushing their teeth and tongue.

5. Brush with Elmo

What doesn’t Elmo make fun?

Join Elmo and celebrities,  Bruno Mars, Nicole Kidman, Amy Ryan on YouTube for a brushing party. This song is so catchy, you’ll probably even find yourself singing it from time to time.

If you’re fed up with the kicking and screaming, try distracting your little with the Elmo Brush Teeth Song, so you can get a good brushing in and actually get out of the house on time.

6. Let Them Hold the Brush 

Toddlers want to be independent, but they just don’t have the skills down yet to effectively do things by themselves. Give them this sense of independence by giving them a toothbrush to hold on to (and probably chew on) while you brush their teeth with another one.

7. Set a Sand Timer

Many moms have found toothbrush sand timers to be extremely helpful for brushing. Let your toddler tip the timer and focus on the sand pouring while you’re busy brushing their teeth. They’ll be focused on a visual distraction, so they will barely even notice you brushing their teeth. Plus, it ensures that they brush their teeth for the recommended two minutes.

8. Brush Your Teeth Too

Brush your teeth at the same time as your toddler, so they can be “just like mommy.” You could even play dentist and let them brush your teeth and explore with some play dentist tools. My little one won’t even let us brush our teeth without her now.

9. Let Them Experiment 

Be sure that you’re giving them a chance to brush their teeth themselves and practice copying your motions. You could do this right before or right after you brush their teeth, or even both. Experiment and see which way works best for your toddler.

10.  Make it Their Idea

While younger toddlers may respond well to praise and positive reinforcement, older toddlers are more interested in doing things on their own terms. They’re at that stage where they’re becoming independent, but still need you right there by their side to guide and support them.

Set up a step stool in the bathroom where they can easily grab their toothbrush by themselves, or better yet have a personal care station set up just for them! Take notice when they brush their teeth, but don’t make a huge deal of it. Just use phrases like “you did it” and “looks like you got your teeth all clean and white.”

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Pearly Toddler Teeth 

Make teeth brushing fun, not a fight with these 10 tricks.  Experiment and see what works best for your toddler. You might even need to rotate through these, so they don’t get bored and start resisting their toothbrush again.

Just have fun with it. Act silly, sing a special song, get a cool toothbrush, and your toddler will have pearly whites in no time.

What About You? 

Was brushing a constant battle with your toddler? Comment below and let us know what worked best for your little, and be sure to share this post with other toddler moms.

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