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Tips for Brushing Toddler Teeth

We know that helping a child brush their teeth is not easy. While some children are happy to open wide for a grownup to brush, other children have strong opinions on the process. Here are some tips to help with teeth brushing. Remember: the goal is to establish lifelong habits to keep their teeth healthy. If one brushing session or strategy does not work, keep trying!

  • Pick out a toothbrush in the child’s favorite color or with a favorite character – or have the child pick out their own toothbrush!
  • Take turns brushing. Young children crave independence, and it helps build their own skill and confidence with brushing.
  • Play music or sing to help encourage children to brush longer. Pick a song that is 2 minutes long.
  • Enlist the help of a favorite stuffed animal or doll and pretend to brush the toy’s teeth. We often say that we’re going to “show doggie how to brush his teeth.”
  • Offer praise for good brushing. Younger children respond great to verbal praise as they love to please the grownups in their lives. Older children may need a physical reward, like stickers or an extra book at bedtime.
  • Demonstrate good brushing by brushing alongside the child. Many young children love to do what the grownups are doing!
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