Leave it to toddlers to turn a simple task like teeth brushing into a clenched-mouth battle of wills. But don’t despair if your toddler resists brushing her teeth — Circle of Moms members have discovered and shared great tips for struggle-free ways to teach good dental hygiene habits to toddlers.
1. Make Up a Brushing Song
Try ramping up teeth-brushing’s fun factor with a song. As Heather L., mother of a two-year-old, shared: “We…sing a tooth brushing song that we made up. Songs can get her to do most anything.” If you need musical inspiration, consider using Caitlyn L.’s teeth-brushing song, set to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat: "Brush, brush, brush your teeth get them nice and clean...Gotta make them pearly white so we can eat ice cream."
2. Mimicking Mom
Since toddlers often love imitating their parents, Circle of Moms members like Amanda M. recommend getting out your own toothbrush when it’s brushing time for your little one. “She loves to mimic me, so I let her brush her own teeth while I do mine, then I finish hers off for her.” Kylie H. agrees: “She loves to copy everything so [when] she brushes her teeth with me it seems to work really well.”
3. Tasty Toothpaste
Another easy way to melt away a toddler’s resistance to brushing teeth is by using flavored toothpaste. Ava G. shares: “I get that fluoride free toothpaste from Orajel with a picture of Abby Cadabby on it, berry flavored…Lexi likes the taste so much she JUMPS whenever I say 'brush your teeth?'."
4. Use Less Paste
As Amy R. found, using too much toothpaste may be why your toddler resists brushing: “I thought I was putting a small amount, but started putting even less on it, and we haven't struggled since.” Her pediatrician explained why: “He said that even though it's baby toothpaste, if there's too much toothpaste on the brush it can actually sting their gums.”
5. Mirror Distractions
Other moms suggest letting your toddler look in the mirror during teeth brushing. As Karyn M. explained: “I used to fight with my son every night to brush his teeth, but then I discovered that if I sit him on the sink facing the mirror, and I stand behind him he's totally fine! That way he's distracted by watching himself in the mirror, and he can see what's going on.”
6. Electronic Toothbrushes
“Try a vibrating toothbrush,” Becky A. recommends. “My son loves it!” Similarly, Lauren B. found getting her daughter an electronic Hello Kitty toothbrush changed tooth-brushing sessions for the better. “Now my daughter loves brushing her teeth….the spinning brush really keeps her interest. She also loves Hello Kitty!”
7. Encourage Independence
Got another tip for making teeth brushing fun and easy? Share it in the comments!