How to encourage your toddler to brush his teeth

Getting your toddler to brush his teeth is not always an easy task. Encouraging good habits from a young age is always best. It is a good idea to make brushing your little ones teeth part of the daily routine. Clean your toddler’s teeth twice a day, every morning and just before bed. Different tricks and games can help you to get the task done, which may need to be varied up.

Here are a few ideas and suggestions to get your toddler off to a happy start, and a shiny smile:

Be patient and calm

Try to make it fun, as holding your child down while he is protesting and crying won’t help, this will only make your child refuse to cooperate and hate the idea. The task needs to be seen as fun and important. Remain calm and relaxed while you attempt to clean your child’s teeth, if your toddler senses that you are becoming stressed, he is likely to become stressed and anxious, too. Explain to your toddler what you are doing and tell him what the toothbrush is for.

Show your child how to clean his teeth

If your toddler has seen you brush your teeth, then he will have a fair idea of how it is done. Cleaning your teeth in front of your child whilst showing that it is fun will encourage him to want to have his teeth cleaned. Children learn by example, so setting a good example and brushing in front of your child will make him eager to have a go himself. Children love to mimic others around them, so seeing family members brushing their teeth will get the younger family members interested.

Let your child choose his own toothbrush

Toddler toothbrushes are usually fun and are designed to encourage children to want to brush their teeth. You may want to let your child help choose an age-appropriate toothbrush, as this will help to encourage him to want to use it. Also let your child assist in choosing toothpaste that is especially designed for children, as they come in brightly packaged tubes to entice children.

Take it in turns

Let your toddler have a go with the brush in-between, before or after you brushing, as toddlers like to be independent and have a go themselves. Let your child decide if he wants to brush first or if he wants you to do it first, as toddlers like to be in control and they like to make decisions. Sometimes cleaning your child’s teeth in front of a mirror will encourage him, as he can see himself having his teeth cleaned.

Make it fun

Make brushing teeth a game that is fun and encouraging. Try different games and make it an enjoyable task rather than a chore. For example: As the toothbrush comes zooming from a height towards your child’s mouth whilst you make a silly noise to make him giggle, tell him to open wide when you get to his mouth to give you a short amount of time to brush his teeth. Repeat the process to get your child to open again so you can clean all areas of the mouth, not forgetting the back teeth.


If your toddler is fussy when you try to clean his teeth, then distraction may help. Try singing your child’s favorite song while you brush his teeth, or recite his favorite story. Why not make up a short rhyme about cleaning teeth that you can recite to your toddler as you brush. Singing is a great way to make a task more fun for young children.

Positive reinforcement

Don’t forget to give plenty of high praise every time your child lets you brush his teeth, even if he only lets you put the brush into his mouth for a second. Giving praise allows your child to realize that you are pleased with him, and toddlers like to please and be praised. Reward charts are always popular. Having a sticker chart may encourage reluctant children.

A toothbrush should be replaced every three months and checked for worn out bristles. Remember never to leave your child unattended with a toothbrush. Good oral hygiene and a healthy diet will go a long way toward promoting strong healthy teeth.