Tips for Toddler Toothbrush Training

Good dental care practices need to start as early as possible. The last thing you want to have to deal with as parents is a youngster that not only refuses to brush their teeth, but that ends up with cavities and lots of dentist appointments. When they’re just starting to get their first teeth dental care is easy: you get them to open wide and you brush their teeth for them. But there comes a time when that either doesn’t work anymore or they start to show an interest in doing things themselves. If you’ve decided it’s time your toddler takes over teeth brushing duty, there are a few things that you can do to make the transition easier.

Let them pick out their own stuff

As parents you probably don’t really care what your child’s toothbrush looks like, as long as it does the job. Same with their toothpaste. But your toddler probably does care. Take them shopping and let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Getting them something that interests them and getting them involved from step one will help get them on board for teeth brushing.

Don’t shoot for perfection

If your child starts brushing and you immediately take over, telling them they aren’t doing it just right, odds are that they most likely won’t want to do it themselves. For the first few times let them go to town and brush however they want to. Once they are in a comfortable routine, you can help them perfect their method.

Lead by example

Brushing your teeth at the same time as your child will not only show them the importance of teeth brushing, but it’s also an excellent way of showing them how it’s done. Brush your teeth slowly, so that your toddler can see exactly what you’re doing. Most likely they’ll mimic what they’re seeing you do.

Find a great dentist and dental hygienist

Kids become scared of the dentist sometimes. They have a bad experience when they’re young or maybe the dentist they go to just isn’t good with kids. This could lead to them also being timid at home when it comes to brushing. Finding a great dentist and dental hygienist that deal specifically with children can go a long way to getting your child interested in the health of their teeth, including daily brushing.

Make it fun

If your child is really reluctant about brushing, make it fun! Make up a pre-brushing song that you and your toddler can sing. Or make teeth brushing part of playtime. If your toddler sees it as fun rather than a chore they’ll want to do it more. And as they get older and it becomes more of a routine, they’ll start to do it on their own, without the fun and games.

Encourage them

Tell them what a great job they’re doing. Tell them that they are the best teeth brushers ever. Give hugs and big smiles and kind words. Toddlers love the positive attention and will love the fact that they’re doing something right. If you tell them what a wonderful job they’re doing, they’ll want to do it again.

Reward them

Give them a sticker every time they brush their teeth. Or maybe five extra minutes of playtime or an extra bed before bedtime. Rewarding them when they brush their teeth will get the message across that brushing is something good and something important to you and they will be more apt to do it.

Convincing a toddler to start brushing their own teeth can be a difficult task. But by using some of the tips above you’ll have your toddler in the bathroom brushing in no time.

Vera Mosley is a writer on a variety of subjects including early childhood education and family planning. After finishing dental assistant school Vera decided to focus a lot of her writing on children’s dental hygiene.

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