How to Get a Toddler to Let You Brush Teeth: Tips and Tricks

Getting a toddler to brush their teeth can be a daunting task for parents, but it is an essential part of their oral hygiene routine. Toddlers are known for their resistance to brushing, and it can be frustrating for parents to deal with. However, there are several strategies that parents can use to make the tooth-brushing process easier and less stressful for both the toddler and the parent.

One effective strategy is to make tooth-brushing a fun and enjoyable experience for the toddler. Parents can do this by using a toothbrush with a favorite character or color, playing music or singing a song during tooth-brushing, and giving the toddler a small reward such as a sticker or a high-five after each successful brushing session. Another strategy is to involve the toddler in the tooth-brushing process by letting them hold the toothbrush and mirror, and allowing them to brush their own teeth with assistance from the parent.

Why Brushing Teeth is Important for Toddlers

Brushing teeth is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene for toddlers. It helps prevent tooth decay and cavities, which can cause pain and discomfort. Toddlers who do not brush their teeth regularly are at a higher risk of developing cavities and tooth decay.

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums. If not removed, it can harden into tartar, which can lead to gum disease. Brushing teeth helps remove plaque from the gum line and teeth, preventing gum disease and tooth decay.

It is important to start brushing a toddler’s teeth as soon as they start to appear. This helps them get used to the feeling of brushing and makes it easier to establish a regular brushing routine. Toddlers who learn good oral hygiene habits at a young age are more likely to continue these habits into adulthood.

Regular brushing, combined with a healthy diet and regular dental check-ups, can help prevent tooth decay and keep toddlers’ teeth healthy and strong. By making brushing teeth a fun and positive experience, parents can help their toddlers develop good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.

Preparing for Brushing Time

Creating a Positive Environment

Getting a toddler to let you brush their teeth can be a challenging task. However, creating a positive environment can make the process easier. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Choose a comfortable and well-lit area for brushing time. A bathroom with a stool for the toddler to sit on is a good option.
  • Make sure the toddler is in a good mood before starting the brushing process. If the toddler is cranky or tired, it may be harder to get them to cooperate.
  • Use a calm and reassuring tone of voice. This can help the toddler feel more at ease.
  • Allow the toddler to pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste. This can make them feel more involved in the process and more likely to cooperate.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Praising the toddler for good behavior can help to reinforce the behavior.

By creating a positive environment, parents can help to make brushing time a more enjoyable experience for both the toddler and themselves.

Choosing the Right Tools

Getting a toddler to let you brush their teeth can be a challenge, but having the right tools can make all the difference. When choosing toothbrushes and toothpaste for your toddler, there are a few things to keep in mind.


There are many types of toothbrushes on the market, but not all of them are suitable for toddlers. Here are some things to consider when choosing a toothbrush:

  • Size: Choose a toothbrush with a small head and a short handle that is easy for your toddler to hold.
  • Bristles: Look for a toothbrush with soft bristles, as they are gentle on your toddler’s gums and teeth.
  • Electric: Some toddlers may prefer an electric toothbrush, which can make brushing more fun. However, make sure the toothbrush is designed for toddlers and has a small head and soft bristles.


Choosing the right toothpaste is also important. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Fluoride: Look for a toothpaste with fluoride, as it helps prevent cavities and strengthens teeth. However, make sure the toothpaste is specifically designed for toddlers and has a lower concentration of fluoride than adult toothpaste.
  • Flavor: Choose a toothpaste with a flavor your toddler likes, such as fruit or bubblegum. This can make brushing more enjoyable for them.
  • Amount: Only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when brushing your toddler’s teeth. Too much toothpaste can be harmful if swallowed.

By choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste, you can make brushing your toddler’s teeth a more pleasant experience for both of you.

Techniques for Brushing Toddler Teeth

Getting Your Toddler Involved

One way to help get your toddler excited about brushing their teeth is to involve them in the process. Let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. This will give them a sense of independence and control over the situation. You can also let them help you squeeze the toothpaste onto their brush and turn the water on and off.

Another way to get your toddler involved is to make brushing teeth a part of their daily routine. Try to brush their teeth at the same time every day, such as after breakfast and before bed. This will help them understand that brushing their teeth is an important part of their day, just like eating and sleeping.

It’s also important to set a good example for your toddler. Let them see you brushing your teeth and make it a family activity. This will help them understand that brushing teeth is something that everyone does, not just something they have to do because you told them to.

Finally, if your toddler is resistant to brushing their teeth, try to make it fun. Sing a song or play a game while you brush their teeth. This will make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your toddler.

Making Brushing Fun


Playing games can make brushing teeth a fun experience for toddlers. Here are some ideas:

  • Simon Says: Play a game of Simon Says where the commands involve brushing teeth. For example, “Simon says brush your top teeth,” or “Simon says make circles with your toothbrush.”
  • Counting: Encourage your toddler to count their teeth as they brush them. You can also count together to make it more fun.
  • Storytelling: Create a story where brushing teeth is the main theme. For example, “Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved brushing her teeth. She brushed her teeth every morning and every night and had a beautiful smile.”


Singing songs can also make brushing teeth a fun activity for toddlers. Here are some tooth-brushing songs:

Song Lyrics
This is the Way We Brush Our Teeth This is the way we brush our teeth,
Brush our teeth, brush our teeth.
This is the way we brush our teeth,
So early in the morning.
Brush Your Teeth Brush, brush, brush your teeth,
Brush them every day.
We put toothpaste on our brush,
And we brush the germs away.

Playing games and singing songs can make brushing teeth a fun and enjoyable experience for toddlers. Try different games and songs to see what works best for your child.

Visiting the Dentist

When to Start

According to the American Dental Association, it is recommended that a child’s first dental visit should be scheduled within six months of their first tooth appearing or by their first birthday. Starting early can help prevent dental problems and establish good oral hygiene habits.

It is important to choose a dentist who is experienced in working with children, such as a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist has specialized training in treating children and can provide a comfortable and safe environment for your child.

Before the appointment, it is a good idea to talk to your child about what to expect at the dentist. Explain to them that the dentist will check their teeth and make sure they are healthy. Encourage them to ask questions and express any concerns they may have.

During the visit, the dentist will examine your child’s teeth and gums, clean their teeth, and provide guidance on proper oral care. They may also take x-rays to check for any underlying issues. The dentist will provide recommendations on when to schedule the next visit based on your child’s individual needs.

Overall, starting early and choosing an experienced pediatric dentist can help make your child’s dental visits a positive experience and establish good oral hygiene habits for a lifetime.


Getting a toddler to let you brush their teeth can be a challenging task, but with the right approach, it can be done. By creating a positive and fun environment, using positive reinforcement, and involving the child in the process, parents can make tooth brushing an enjoyable experience for both themselves and their child.

It is important to use the right amount of toothpaste and to make sure the child spits it out properly. Parents should also make sure their child drinks plenty of water, which helps to wash away any remaining food particles and bacteria in the mouth.

Using a mirror can also be helpful, as it allows the child to see what is happening and can make the experience more interesting. Parents should also make sure that they are using a fluoride toothpaste, as this helps to strengthen the teeth and prevent cavities.

Overall, getting a toddler to let you brush their teeth requires patience, consistency, and a positive attitude. With these tools, parents can help their child develop good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.

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How to Get a Toddler to Let You Brush Teeth: Tips and Tricks

How to Get a Toddler to Let You Brush Teeth: Tips and Tricks