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How to Get Your Toddler to Brush their Teeth

How to Get Your Toddler to Brush their Teeth

Encouraging a toddler to brush their teeth can be challenging, but there are a few things you can try!

Trust me, I’ve been there and I completely understand the challenge of convincing your toddler to brush their teeth willingly!

The screaming, squirming child that’s locked his jaw so tight there’s no way you’re getting that toothbrush in!  I’ve been there!

The 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 flavored toothpaste you applied– then almost just as quickly the toothbrush is expelled from their little mouth and the torture screams ensue. Yep, I know that frustration!

So, how to get your toddler to brush their teeth can be quite the daunting task! But there is hope with these simple tips and tricks for how to get your toddler to brush their teeth.

Getting Toddler to Brush Their Teeth
It takes a bit of patience to get your toddler to brush their teeth, but you can have them love it in no time!

Make Brushing Teeth Fun for Toddlers

Here me out! I know, how are you supposed to make teeth brushing fun for your toddler? Well, there are several new toothbrushes out there that combine interactive games with teeth brushing! My kids’ favorite is the Phillips Sonicare that has a fun interactive app that not only helps kids learn proper brushing techniques but also tracks and rewards their brushing!

Buy the Phillips Sonicare toothbrush here.

Some kids aren’t a fan of the electric toothbrush and that’s totally okay!  Colgate HUM is a similar toothbrush that’s manual but also connects to an app to encourage healthy brushing habits for toddlers. Through augmented reality, toddlers will learn how to brush their teeth properly and receive rewards for doing well.

Purchase the Colgate HUM toothbrush here.

Talk to your toddler and let them choose which one they would prefer.  Or, go a different route and have them pick a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character.

If your toddler really doesn’t want to use a typical toothbrush, there are plenty of new types of toothbrushes available with toddlers in mind. These u-shaped toothbrushes use ultra sonic pulses to brush all of the teeth at one time.

Shop for U-Shaped Toothbrushes here.

Buy Yummy Toothpaste They’ll Be Excited to Use

Buy some yummy infant/children’s 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.  

There’s a reason toddler toothpaste is fluoride-free! Your toddler is going to suck on the toothpaste when brushing their teeth…the key is to limit how much they use. I tell Little Man that he can suck on the toothpaste BUT once it’s gone it’s gone and there won’t be any extra to finish brushing his teeth.

There are so many fun flavors available now like watermelon, strawberry, orange, vanilla ice cream, and many more!

Let Your Toddler Play with Their New Toothbrush

When you get the new toothbrush 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.

If you’re introducing an electric toothbrush to your toddler make sure you 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!).

Let Your Toddler SEE Why They Need to Brush

My kid is VERY analytical. If you tell him he needs to brush his teeth he needs to know ALL of the whys, he needs to SEE what the big deal is, he needs convincing! That’s where these little tablets SHINE! I remember these from when I was a kid, so I tracked them down for Little Man.

When you chew the tablet it turns all of the plaque purple! This gives toddlers an instant visual for all the “plaque monsters” in their mouth and why they need to brush well. If you have an analytic kiddo like me, then I highly recommend grabbing these Plaque Disclosing Tablets!

Celebrate Your Toddler Brushing Their Teeth

Rewards are always a good motivator! Keep track of your toddler’s brushing skills with this Brush My Teeth Tracking Chart and make a goal. Reward good behavior: Offer positive reinforcement, such as praise or a small treat, when they brush their teeth without fuss.

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 Laughing) that you contact your dentist for advice on how to get your toddler to brush their teeth.

How to Get Your Toddler to brush their teeth


Saturday 11th of January 2014

We didn't get the electric toothbrush right away, but what worked was a very silly song we made daughter loved it and wouldn't brush until I began to sing the song...LOL!

You give great tips! Thanks for sharing!

Coming over via SITSSharefest... -Danielle @DanielleASB

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Friday 10th of January 2014

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Monday 28th of October 2013

Okay, I really need this. Seriously. My girls are three, but just last week I had to pin down one of them and forcibly get that brush in there... Maybe it's time to upgrade to an electric toothbrush. And some better tasting toothpaste.


Tuesday 29th of October 2013

Yeah I used to do that with Little Man-- now it's much easier getting him to brush his teeth-- it used to be such a HUGE fight! Hope the new toothbrushes and toothpaste help!! :)


Thursday 24th of October 2013

I'm having trouble getting my elementary school students to brush their teeth! I'm seriously considering buying some of these toothbrushes, labeling them, and keeping them at school for them!


Monday 28th of October 2013

That's a great idea! I still get a "NO" every once in awhile when I'm trying to get him to brush before we go out but I think he's just in the NO's driving me nuts-- EVERYTHING is NO. Fun Fun! :)

Katie Clark

Wednesday 23rd of October 2013

My son is obsessed with brushing his teeth. I sure hope he doesn't outgrow that!

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