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When Toddlers Hate Brushing Their Teeth

When Toddlers Hate Brushing Their Teeth

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

Several Circle of Moms members, including Monica R., let toddlers brush their own teeth. Since toddlers love feeling independent, brushing their own teeth can make the task much more appealing. 

Got another tip for making teeth brushing fun and easy? Share it in the comments!

Join The Conversation
AbiWilson AbiWilson 5 years
I let my kids brush their own teeth ad they don't do as good as a Job- but the dentist suggested that I brush their teeth once a day and the other time they are allowed to brush their own teeth...
kylietremmel kylietremmel 5 years
so having hard time with my daughter front teeth she already has stuff on her front teeth and pitches a fit.took her to dentist but she not 2 yet she needs to get knocked out so they can work on her front teeth wont let anyone touch her teeth.trying to figure out what i can do to get those teeth clean better since she has the front one geting
OngLeng OngLeng 5 years
FlaviahJjumba FlaviahJjumba 6 years
My son Arthur Nathan is 14 months old but i've not introduced a tooth brush to him because he can't let me clean his teeth at all. I try to do it using a cloth cotton cloth but still not successful b'se all he does is bite my fingers. I am confused on how to clean him and now need your advice. Thank you dear members and i count on your advice. Flaviah Jjumba
PaulaNichols PaulaNichols 6 years
My daughter is 14 months and loves to brush her own teeth, but hates when it's my turn... but I want to make sure they are brushed good... what should i do??
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