How do I get my toddler to brush their teeth?

Brushing your children's teeth can be difficult, just like getting them to eat their vegetables. However, it is critical to instill good oral hygiene habits in children while they are young. Our [SITEIWDE][LOCATION] dentists have some advice for you.

On some days your child may enjoy the brushing experience, but often, they may put up a fight. It is, however, incredibly important that your child has their teeth brushed at least twice a day. Until your child reaches eight years of age they won't have the proper dexterity to do a good enough job brushing their teeth on their own.

Always remember that it must be completed, whether or not your child is looking forward to it. You wouldn't let your child sit in a soiled diaper because they don't want it changed, and you shouldn't let food or plaque build up on your child's teeth because they don't want them brushed.

There are times when it can be a fight, so try to make it fun. Like most things, routine is key.

Here are some tricks to get your kids excited about brushing:

  • Let your toddler or child hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you hold their brush to brush their teeth. Usually, this is a fun way that they enjoy brushing. 
  • Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush. 
  • Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
  • Offer small rewards for challenging toddlers after brushing – like stickers, reading a favourite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
  • Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favourite toys after you brush your own. Talk about how important it is that their toy takes care of their teeth. Most toddlers, upon seeing how much their toy loves having their teeth brushed, will want theirs done also.
  • How you ask can allow them to feel some independence. You might ask “Which toothbrush would you like to use?” instead of “Are you ready to brush your teeth?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth?” They'll feel involved in the decision and be more likely to cooperate.

If none of these methods work for your toddler, try rubbing a piece of gauze against his teeth. There are some pre-formed gauze pieces available specifically for this use. Only a dab of fluoride toothpaste is required if your dentist recommends it once a day.

If you would like to learn more tips about brushing your toddler's teeth, contact our Calgary dentists today

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