Here are my 9 easy tips on how to make tooth brushing fun for toddlers.
I started teaching my toddler to brush her teeth a month after she turned 2. I was still brushing her before (started when she was 6 months old with a baby toothbrush and only water) until I noticed some discoloration on her teeth.
Fortunately, a quick trip to the dentist proved otherwise. They told us her teeth were fine, that she should be bottle weaned the soonest time possible and that it’s time for her to start learning how to brush her teeth properly.
I was a little hesitant at first to teach her. I can’t even make her eat something that she doesn’t want, how can I convince her to put a toothbrush in her mouth and brush her teeth properly?!
But with Google’s help, coupled with some books and some good ole’ advice from some of my friends who are veteran moms, we managed.
My now almost 4 years old can brush her teeth daily and properly, with little prodding (and sometimes nagging) from me.
Importance of Tooth Brushing for Toddlers
Aside from the obvious reasons of having a clean set of teeth, healthy gums, and fresh breath, tooth brushing can also teach toddlers about:
- the importance of routines
- improving their manual dexterity and fine motor skills
How To Make Tooth Brushing Fun For Toddlers
Read a book
They are actually meant for older kids but I know my kid will enjoy these books and she did, fortunately, especially the Sugarbug Doug.
Let them choose
Make them feel more involved and independent by letting them choose their toothbrush and even gargling cup.
These little things will keep them excited and will them look forward to brushing every night.
You can also let them choose a small mirror and a stool to stand on by the sink.
If they insist on brushing their teeth, let them but guide them on how to do it properly. Don’t force a toothbrush inside their mouth or else, it would make it a very unpleasant, traumatizing experience for them.
If you’re like me and your eyes are twitching with how they brush their teeth, do the next tip below.
Let them practice on you
I don’t expect my toddler then to brush her teeth properly for 2 reasons. One, she’s just learning and two, she tends to get a little bit distracted and would prefer to just play with the faucet, the water, etc.
For moments like that, I tell her that she can brush my teeth if she lets me brush hers. That gets her way too enthusiastic but I don’t really mind.
That way, she’ll learn how to brush properly while I make sure that her teeth and gums are getting the cleaning it deserves.
Make it a family affair
Lead by example and make it a family bonding time to brush daily with your little ones.
That way, you get to set a routine while showing them how to brush their teeth properly.
Do pretend play
You can create an activity or get a toy to practice toothbrushing the right way.
Check out this toothbrushing activity for children.
Use music, games and apps
Have a toothbrush music! Crank it up and dance your way to the bathroom!
Or you can make it into a game. Use an egg timer and see who can brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes without stopping.
You can also download this fun app called Brush Up. It allows you to use your phone camera as a mirror so kids can watch themselves brush.
Introduce the tooth fairy
Tell them about the tooth fairy but with some embellishments. The tooth fairy visits randomly and leaves a reward for those who brushes their teeth daily and properly.
I personally don’t recommend rewarding kids for some routine activity. But if it helps, you can create a simple reward system to encourage them to brush their teeth.
Give them a sticker for brushing properly. When they’ve filled up a weekly chart with stickers, they can get an “experience” reward, eg, extra TV time or having their favorite breakfast the next day.
Make a dentist appointment a big deal
Explain to them what a dentist does and why they should visit one at least once or twice a year. Tell them the procedures of visiting a dentist and what can they expect while sitting on those dental chairs. Tell them only a dentist can tell if we really brush our teeth properly so let’s proudly show them our beautiful, pearly whites.
How To Make Tooth Brushing Fun For Toddlers: Takeaway
Never force your kid to brush their teeth.
You’d want tooth brushing and visiting a dentist to become a pleasant experience for them so they’d do it daily and regularly. So try out some of the tips above and see what works on how to make tooth brushing fun for your toddler.