Your child may enjoy the brushing experience on some days, but more often than not, your little one tends to put up a fight. It is incredibly important that your child has their teeth brushed at least twice a day. Until your child is eight years old, they won't have the proper dexterity to do a good enough job brushing their teeth on their own.
Always remember that it needs to get done, regardless of whether or not your child gives you a hard time about it. You would never allow your child to sit in a soiled diaper just because they don't want their diaper changed, so you shouldn't allow food or plaque to sit on your kid’s teeth just because they don't want them to be brushed.
There are times when it can be a fight, so try to make it fun. Like most things, routine is key.
Here are some tricks to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth:
- Let your toddler or child hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you hold their brush to brush their teeth. This is a fun way to make brushing a mutual activity.
- Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush.
- Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
- Offer small rewards for to toddlers after brushing, such as stickers, reading a favorite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
- Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favorite toys after you brush your own. Talk about how important it is that their toy takes care of their teeth. Most toddlers, upon seeing how much their toy loves having their teeth brushed, will want theirs done also.
- Let your child feel independent. Try asking, "Which toothbrush would you like to use?” instead of “Are you ready to brush your teeth?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth?” They'll feel involved in the decision and be more likely to cooperate.
If your toddler isn’t impressed with any of these methods, try using a piece of gauze to rub on their teeth and gums. There are some pre-formed gauze types for this exact purpose. If your dentist recommends using fluoride toothpaste once a day, just a dab is all you need.