A female toddler with dental model learning to brush teeth

The number one question we get at a child’s first dental appointment is, “How can I get my toddler to brush their teeth?”

It’s not uncommon for toddlers to be resistant towards anyone poking around in their mouths.

Some children want to brush their teeth by themselves, but the reality is children need an adult to do the brushing and flossing for them physically. Children do not have the dexterity to sufficiently brush their own teeth until they can tie their own shoes.

We know that brushing can be a challenge, which is why we wanted to share some tips and tricks to make brushing and flossing more fun and less of a battle at home.

3 tips on how to get your toddler to brush teeth

Tip #1: Use distraction

At our pediatric dental office in Nashville, we have televisions above each chair so that our patients can watch a show while getting their teeth cleaned. Parents are constantly amazed by how well their child sits still and lets us brush their teeth.

Distraction at home can be just as helpful.

If your child is motivated by screen time, let them lay back and watch a show or play a game on your phone while you brush and floss their teeth. Most kids are so fixated by their show or game that they will not mind you being in their mouth.

Remember, effective brushing only takes two minutes, so you do not have to keep them still for long.

Tip #2: Rewards and brushing charts

Many children are motivated by rewards. If you have a child who is giving you a hard time when it comes to brushing, try making a chart that they can put a sticker on or color each day they let you brush and floss their teeth.

For motivation, let them pick out a toy that they really want and give it to them as a reward if they complete the whole chart. We’ve even attached an example of a fun chart for you to print at home!

A weekly brushing and flossing chart for kids

Download Brushing Chart

Tip #3: Brushing games and songs

A simple way to make brushing your toddler’s teeth easier is by turning it into something fun rather than a chore your child avoids.

Try singing a fun “toothbrush song” as you brush your child’s teeth. There are also many toothbrushes that sing a song as you brush.

If you are going to invest in an electric toothbrush, our favorite is the kids’ Sonicare toothbrush… This text opens a new tab to the official website…. Sonicare has a child-sized toothbrush that pairs with a game on your phone. The game encourages kids to brush better to achieve different levels and prizes.

This is such a fun, interactive way to get your child involved and excited about brushing, plus this toothbrush would make for a great Christmas gift if you are still looking for some last-minute ideas.

Give these tips a try!

If brushing and flossing your toddler’s teeth is a struggle at home, do not be discouraged and know that you are not alone! Hopefully, some of these tips will help brushing be less of a challenge.

Please feel free to drop a comment below if you have any tricks of your own that have worked for your child!

Have a question?

Contact our Nashville pediatric dentist, Dr. Brittany Adamiak!

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Green Hills Pediatric Dentistry is located in Nashville, TN. It serves surrounding communities, including 12 South, 8th Ave S, Belle Meade, Belmont, Berry Hill, Demonbreun Hill, Downtown, East Nashville, Edgehill, Elliston Place, Germantown, Green Hills, Gulch, Hillsboro Village, Marathon Village, Melrose, Midtown, SOBRO, Sylvan Park, The Nations, and West End.