How to Get Your Toddler to Brush their Teeth– Peacefully!
So I know you’ve been there– the screaming, squirming child that’s locked his jaw so tight there’s no way you’re getting that toothbrush in! The screaming and crying like you’re trying to kill them with the toxic toothpaste– that is until they get a taste and the mouth quickly opens just long enough to let the tip of the toothbrush in and immediately chomps back down to allow no movement– just the sweet satisfaction of sucking off every bit of toothpaste you applied– then almost just as quickly the toothbrush is expelled from their little mouth and the torture screams ensue. So, how to get your toddler to brush their teeth can be quite the daunting task!
Yes, teaching your toddler to brush his/her teeth is a dramatic and sometimes painful experience (their teeth are like little shark teeth– very sharp and deadly!). Anyway, after many fights and giving up in frustration I have finally figured out how to get your toddler to brush their teeth– WITHOUT all the drama and commotion!
Go pick out a SUPER cool big boy/big girl children’s electric toothbrush. These are usually for ages 3 and up– but I bought when Little Man was 18 months old and it works just fine! Now, make a BIG deal about this toothbrush. Hold out several and get your toddler to pick one. Then- while walking through the store simulate brushing your and your child’s teeth– this will get them use to the idea that this is THEIR new toothbrush and what it’s meant for.
Buy some yummy infant/children’s toothpaste…(I’m a big fan of Babyganics baby toothpaste). Just because I don’t like the idea of brushing my teeth with Very Berry Strawberry doesn’t mean that my Little Man feels the same way. He will devour that stuff…and it’s okay because there’s no fluoride….they will suck it like a lolly pop but it’s a start and gives you an opening to show them how to brush instead of just sucking off the yummy goodness.
When you get home let your child play with and experience the toothbrush for a few minutes. Gently put it in their mouth and let them chew on it, spit it out, whatever.
Turn the toothbrush on. DO NOT put the toothbrush in your child’s mouth and then turn it on– this will scare them– trust me– I speak from first hand experience– it took 3 days for him to accept the toothbrush again! So, with the toothbrush vibrating- hand it to your toddler and let him/her play with it for a minute or two. Then encourage them to put the toothbrush in their mouth….try showing them by putting it in your mouth first.
Although this can get a bit messy by slinging toothpaste around…. add toothpaste to the toothbrush and turn it back on. Now hand it to your toddler and encourage them to put it in their mouth. Once in the mouth– your toddler will no doubt begin sucking off all the yummy candy tasting toothpaste– BUT the rotating head is cleaning their teeth and they can’t chomp down with the vibrating so you can move the toothbrush for them to make sure all areas are cleaned.
Place the toothbrush and toothpaste in a spot that your toddler can reach them. After a few days you’ll be surprised to have your toddler bring them to you so he/she can brush their teeth (or get their candy flavored toothpaste craving fix– but who cares, at least their teeth are getting clean!).
Enjoy one last thing you have to fight with your toddler about! Next up– helping your toddler cope with the terror from the potty of doom!
What tips do you have with getting your toddler to brush their teeth?
Please note that I am not a dentist nor do I claim to be– I’m simply a mom trying to do what’s best for my child. I did speak with our dentist for advice so I advise (legally covering my booty ) that you contact your dentist for advice on how to get your toddler to brush their teeth.