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  • Writer's pictureChronicles of Mom Life

Tips for Getting Your Toddler to Brush Their Teeth

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Dental Hygiene is very important for every age group.

Keeping up with brushing, flossing, regular cleanings, and all-around dental care will help keep those pearly whites healthy and happy your whole life.

Brushing and flossing should be done at a minimum of twice a day, and you should get regular cleanings at least twice a year.

For many children, it can be difficult to get them to sit still long enough to clean the inside of their mouths. It can be a power struggle because they want to be in control of their own teeth.

There are so many tools to use to get kids to cooperate and allow for good oral hygiene starting at a young age.

You should get young children into good habits with tooth brushing and flossing so they have a good daily routine.

Check out some tips for getting your toddler to brush their teeth.

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When to Start Dental Care?

The best time to start with regular oral care is as soon as your child is born. It is a good idea to keep babies’ gums clean and clear to allow a healthy place for baby teeth to grow in.

It may sound silly to have to clean your child’s gums, but milk and bacteria can get trapped in their mouths.

It’s a good idea to wipe your baby’s gums and cheeks with a clean damp wash cloth to remove any bacteria from their mouth.

How Often Do You Brush and Floss Your Teeth?

Once their very first tooth pops through, you should start keeping your child's first teeth clear with regular cleaning to prevent tooth decay.

You can get a small toothbrush with soft bristles to brush their teeth twice a day. I like to have everyone in our family brush our teeth after breakfast in the morning and before bed every night.

Once your child has more than one tooth, you can start flossing between them to remove trapped food and plaque. We make sure to floss every day before we brush to loosen up any food that could be sitting on the teeth.

Do You Go to The Dentist?

It is well known that everyone should go to the Dentist for regular cleanings at least twice a year.

If you or your child have any issues to address or dental concerns, you should go to the dentist more often.

Personally, I have a Mesiodens that needs to be watched by the Dentist, so I tend to go more often for X-rays of my permanent teeth.

My children go a minimum twice a year for cleanings by their Dental Hygienist as part of their routine to continue with good dental habits.

It is an important thing to brush and floss your teeth twice a day at a minimum and still go to the Dentist at least twice a year to keep healthy teeth.

What Do You Use to Brush and Floss Your Child’s Teeth?

1. Brushing Teeth - Toothbrushes

There are so many options for your brushing your child’s teeth.

We have tried so many options before we found what works best for each of our children.

a. Children's Manual Toothbrush

You can go with the child's manual toothbrush. A soft toothbrush will typically have short bristles and a wider handle to make it easier for little kids to grip. Your child can also pick out a toothbrush with their favorite character on it. This can really help create good oral hygiene habits if they like the toothbrush they are using.

b. Training Toothbrush

There are toddler training toothbrushes with teethers on the handle to allow your child to walk around with their toothbrush. My son loves these toothbrushes because we will chew on any part of the toothbrush. They are a great option for toddler teeth and can help with fine motor skills.

c. Children's Electric Toothbrush

The Electric Toothbrush is my daughter’s favorite because she does a pretty good job brushing her teeth on her own before I finish brushing for her. She has gotten very good at getting her front teeth and back teeth on her own. Our dentist recommended we use electric toothbrushes for her because they can do such a better job getting the plaque off.

d. U-Shaped Toothbrush

U-Shaped Toothbrushes are a big hit right now because they allow you to reach every area of the mouth. They are great for infants only a few months of age since you can't really get a toothbrush in their mouth.

2. Brushing Teeth - Toothpaste

The type of toothpaste you use will depend on the age of your child and the area you live in. We live in an area where the water is treated with fluoride, so it is not recommended children use toothpaste with fluoride until they are at least 3 years old.

My children must get fluoride varnish on their teeth at the Pediatricians office multiple times a year. As an adult, I still get fluoride treatments at the Dentist during my regular cleanings.

No matter what type of toothpaste they use, it is not necessary to push much toothpaste on their toothbrush.

a. Fluoride-free Toothpaste

Fluoride-free Toothpaste is recommended for children under 3 years old where I live and is safe if swallowed. This works out great since my son loves to suck the toothpaste off the toothbrush and ask for more since he likes the taste of the toothpaste. I put a pea-sized amount on his toothbrush and let him brush his teeth for a few minutes before I take over.

b. Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride Toothpaste is important for teeth because the fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. My daughter tried my fluoride adult toothpastes and hated the taste which is why it’s good they make many different flavor fluoride toothpastes. She loves that her toothpaste has a character on the bottle and tastes like candy. I make sure to only put a small amount of on toothbrush and it helps that her toothbrush has a small head.

3. Flossing Teeth

Flossing your teeth is just as important as brushing your teeth daily because it helps get food and plaque between the teeth loose.

I like to floss before I brush my teeth because then I can brush away everything I loosened with the floss.

a. Regular Dental Floss

Regular Dental Floss is the simplest way to floss teeth. You can wrap the ends of the floss around your fingers and maneuver it between each individual tooth. Most Dentist Offices will give you a package of floss after every visit.

b. Floss Picks

Floss Picks and Flosser Sticks are great to teach kids to floss their own teeth. My daughter loves to use the floss picks on her teeth and she does a great job pushing it down between her teeth on her own. It helps that the floss is already pulled tight on the stick. They have toothpicks on the opposite end to help get out pieces of stuck food from between your teeth as well.

c. Waterpiks

Waterpiks can be helpful for kids with small teeth or braces. The traditional method of flossing is the best option, but Waterpiks can be a great alternative if necessary. The water may not be as effective as the traditional floss so you can miss many areas. It is still a better option than not being able to floss at all.

What are Some Ways to Get My Child to Brush Their Teeth?

One of the hardest parts about brushing your child’s teeth is getting them to brush.

It would not be fun to chase your child around the house with a toothbrush just to hold them down and force a toothbrush in their mouth. That can be traumatizing and create a hatred for dental care. You don’t want your child to hate getting their teeth cleaned at a young age.

There are some fun ways to get your child engaged when it comes to brushing their teeth.

1. Dental Hygiene Chart for Kids

If you’re looking for a fun way to get your child involved in their dental care, you could print off our Dental Hygiene Chart for Kids.

This weekly chart allows your child to check off each time they floss and brush their teeth every day.

Just print it off and have it laminated or slide it into a clear sheet. You could tape it up in the bathroom or their bedroom and have them check off each time they floss or brush with a dry erase marker. After the week is done, erase the chart and start again.

Grab your copy of our Dental Hygiene Chart for Kids Here!

2. Sing a Special Song

Jump on over to the internet to find a fun song about brushing teeth or come up with one on your own.

My children love to sing songs about everything we do. We even have a handwashing song to make sure we wash our hands long enough.

3. Pretend Play

Turn brushing and flossing into a game or pretend you are different characters. Kids love using their imagination and creating games. If they know they can play a fun game while taking care of their teeth, they might get excited to play every day.

4. Use a Toothbrush Timer

Race against the clock to get your mouth cleaned well before the timer runs out. By purchasing a toothbrush timer, you can add a bit of fun to their daily routine. Your child will have to spend certain minutes of brushing their teeth, so you can make it into a game or a race each time. Don’t forget to check their teeth afterward though to finish brushing what they missed.

5. Positive Reinforcement

If all else fail, just make sure to give them positive reinforcement and cheer them on when brushing so they understand how important it is. Allow them to brush their own teeth to give them independence and so they feel like they have control over an aspect of their life. I always brush my kids’ teeth after their done so I can make sure it’s thoroughly brushed, and they have a chance to develop their own brushing habits on their own.

It is so important for my children to have healthy oral care habits, so their baby teeth and adult teeth stay healthy.

Continuing with good behaviors when it comes to teeth brushing can help your children to have a healthy smile their whole life.

You must also play an important role in your child's dental hygiene habits because American Dental Association (ADA) says parents should continue brushing their child's teeth until at least 6 years of age when they can properly brush and floss on their own.

The whole process of brushing teeth should take approximately two minutes twice a day.

Remember to make a big deal out of how important dental hygiene is and know that with a little practice, your child will become independent and successful with their oral hygiene.

Do you have a special Dental Hygiene Routine you follow?

What are some fun ways you get your child to brush their teeth?

Share in the comments below!

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