5 Tricks For Brushing Your Tot's Teeth

5 Tricks For Brushing Your Tot's Teeth
26 May 2016

Somehow I've lucked out when it comes to brushing my youngest child's teeth. She's been willing to oblige whenever I brandish the toothbrush ever since she was tiny, which is NOT how I recall things going with her older brothers.

And if you've ever encountered the jaws-clamped-shut-tighter-than-a-pit-bull-terrier-on-a-very-bad-day response to waving a toothbrush in the general direction of your tot, you'll know exactly what I mean.

Try as I might, I just couldn't persuade my lads to open up to have their teeth brushed, and going to the dentist was an even bigger ordeal.

I don't know if being older and wiser makes me a more zen Mama and if that's why my youngest is so chilled out about keeping her pearly whites, well, pearly, or if she's just a more easy-going character and less prone to stage a face-off in the bathroom.

But I learned a few tricks when it comes to persuading a toddler to brush their teeth, so here they are...

1. Always brush your teeth first
Toddlers are like monkeys and you know the saying; monkey see, monkey do. If your tot sees you brushing your teeth, and witnesses that it doesn't in fact lead to bloodshed or the end of the world, she's more likely to deign to let you brush her own teeth. Which brings me to the next point…

2. Don't brush her teeth - let her do it herself
Yes, yes, I know you fear that she won't do a good enough job and you'll end up having to account to your dentist for why you entrusted oral hygiene to a two-year-old but in my experience a willing tot is a lot more efficient at brushing her teeth than you might imagine, and you can always give them the once over later. Heck, I've been known to brush my kids teeth while they were sleeping!

3. Approach with caution
If you do decide to take matters into your own hands and brush your child's teeth for them, try sitting them in your lap facing away from you, and reach around to brush from there. It's much less intimidating than having someone back you into a corner brandishing a toothbrush in front of your face, or so an expert once told me.

4. Try all the gimmicks you can
Sticker charts, clever flashing toothbrushes - whatever works. Personally I'm a fan of the Firefly one minute timer toothbrushes for enticing kids to clean their teeth but basically try everything when it comes to gadgets and gimmicks to help children with brushing their teeth, and go with whatever works. I also love this toothpaste dispenser and this cute toothbrush timer.

5. Start early
It might be too late for some but there's no substitute for starting early when it comes to brushing teeth so if you've got a tot who doesn't even show signs of having any teeth to brush, invest in a banana brush - it's brilliant for teething tots to chew on - and start the teeth cleaning fun now.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Laura F.

    I'll try anything :weary:

  • Heather T.

    You can get the flashing toothbrush from home and bargain they are only about 89p. My kids have them and they are great, they flash for 2 minutes

  • Rachel B.

    Doesn't work I've tried mostly all that still struggling

    • Chelsee F.

      I feel your pain my nearly 3year old is a nightmare :weary::cry:

    • Rachel B.

      Chelsee Freer my son is 3 I have to pin him down to brush them

  • Lyndsay M.

    I used the elmo brush your teeth song on you tube was a great help as she copied him also told her Mr cavity is a bad guy and the dentist is now called the cavity fighter she now sits and let's him look.

    • PlayPennies

      Those are great ideas, thanks Lyndsay! :)

  • Kelly R.

    Ha! We had slightly more success tonight with a brush that goes over your finger. No tears at least but lots of squirming!

  • Kimberley T.

    Gave my little one a toothbrush from 6 months she copies me I let her do it then I have a quick go after as she lets me for around 30 seconds... She loves to watch me do mine and watches herself in mirror do her own... Pretty lucky as she gets excited when she shes me get my brush...

    • Sara F.

      I did this, it used to be a comfort for her when teething too. She's 3 now and I've never had a problem with her brushing her teeth.

  • Jaynene B.

    See the thing is he wants to do it himself but the dentist said I should be doing it for him because he wont do it properly. Even though he couldn't even get a look

  • Stacey M.

    Download the brush time app fraya Has it it encourages her xx

  • Caitlin B.

    We have a deal. She does it in the morning and I do them at night. One minute brushing=1 bedtime story. 2=2. Also tell her no biscuits or cakes the next day if she doesn't brush. Stuck to it once and now she recalls...

  • Emma R.

    My daughter gags and heaves. Shes 3 and a half. It makes it so difficult :pensive:

  • Anastasia W.

    My dentist told me not to worry so much about the brushing but that the fluoride toothpaste gets into their mouth so if ur little one won't let u brush their teeth but they will brush their own don't be too worried about it but keep trying

    • Lisa M.

      My dentist said the same, just gave my little girl the toothbrush never forced me doing it on her,now she's 2 she lets me do it no probs :thumbsup:

    • Anastasia W.

      My 2 our the same the youngest still chews on the brush abit but he's getting there lol

    • Helen M.

      Exactly. As long is the baby teeth don't rot or get infected, they only last a few years. My son has just turned 5 and has 2 adult teeth, he knows the importance of brushing (watched a programme on toddlers having their teeth pulled as they were overweight brats who ate junk food so scared for life maybe!)

  • Alison G.

    Put a mirror in front of them

  • Laura B.

    Loads of great ideas thanks my daughter hates teeth brushing time and I've tried all the flashing tooth brushes and nice tasting tooth paste!

  • Daisy K.

    My daughter (3yrs) does it for longer with the vibrating kids version. Electric tooth brushes are 7+ I think. Dentist says don't worry about lack of brushing as long as they don't eat the bad stuff

  • Gurpreet M.

    They're worth a try!!!!

  • Chris H.

    So promising her sweets for brushing her teeth isn't recommended?

  • Jaynene B.

    Hes willing just canny do it right lol x

  • Hannah M.

    We use the aquafresh app. Plays the most annoying songs for 2 minutes but it tells them what to do etc. You earn coins to buy accessories to dress up the character!

  • Natalie S.

    Read this earlier - have already tried them all :cry::cry:

  • Lizzie J.

    I pretend there's a monkey on my child's teeth and that I have to catch it with the toothbrush! Apparently no kid wants a monkey in their mouth & he finds it hilarious! he's a willing participant now he used to be a nightmare clamper! x :monkey:

  • Elizabeth B.

    Thanks ! Some good ideas here!

  • Becky W.

    I sing 'Twinkle Twinkle little star' That way she knows there's an end to it and it helps that she loves the song.x

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