How to Get Your Toddler to Brush Their Teeth

Toddlers can be tricky creatures. You know your children’s teeth need cleaning, but when your child clenches their teeth and shakes their head, what can you do to get them to brush?


You’re not alone. Parents around the world find themselves struggling to get those little mouths open so they can clean tiny teeth. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can try.



Before You Start


Before we get into the troubleshooting tips, let’s take a look at a few things you need to do to make sure your toddler’s teeth are really getting clean.


First, make sure you have toothpaste designed for toddlers. This is specially formulated to be gentler on their sensitive taste buds and is safe if they swallow it. Toddler toothpaste comes in a few different flavors, so try a few to see which one is a hit. Don’t use adult toothpaste, which can be too minty and harsh for your child’s mouth.


Second, use a child’s toothbrush. These have softer bristles and are tiny so they can fit in that little mouth without trouble. Whether electric or manual, these little brushes are meant to work for toddler teeth and usually have rubber backing on them to protect from bumps against the gums.


Finally, you should be brushing your child’s teeth two to three times a day or after each meal. That may be tough to start out doing, but you can build up to it and make it a habit. Since toddlers are creatures of habit, this can actually help! Keep in mind that you need to be the one doing the brushing at least part of the time. A toddler just isn’t coordinated enough to clean their own teeth properly, though there is nothing wrong with letting them try.


Now, let’s get to the how to get those teeth brushed.


Play Copycat


Toddlers love to copy other people, so make sure you have them with you when you brush your teeth. Don’t make a big deal of it with them, just brush away and you’ll find that they are soon asking for a toothbrush, too.



Turn On Music


Put on a short song and ask your child to brush their teeth as long as the song is on. Pick something you like to listen to, because this is likely to become the tooth brushing song for the next year or two. Raffi has an excellent song on brushing teeth.



Read Books and Watch Videos


Children are often influenced by media, so make it work for you. Find a book or two about brushing teeth and make it a routine to read it before you go to the bathroom and scrub those teeth! Instead of being a chore, it will be a fun way to get their teeth clean.



Taking Turns


Remember that you need to be doing some of the brushing, so try taking turns. Let your child brush their teeth for a count of three, then you brush their teeth for a count of three. If it helps, you can also let them brush your teeth. In fact, it can be a fun way to switch, if you brush each other’s teeth and you can move your mouth the way they need to move theirs.


Use an Electric Toothbrush


An electric toothbrush can be a lot of fun for kids to use and it is very efficient at cleaning teeth. Get your little one to use it at least once a day and you can rest assured that their teeth will be reasonably cleaned, even if they’re doing the brushing.


When all else fails, double up with a partner and have one person tickle your little one to make them laugh while you quickly dip in and brush those teeth! It can be done, though it may be tricky.



Hey You!

Learn how DenatlSave can save you


Thank you you are a saver! 

UP TO 50%  OFF


Learn more about our plan, and save!

This information never be shared to 3rd part companies


Learn more now!

Get our detailed Dental Discount Plans Guide and learn how to get the perfect smile!  

Your e-mail has

been saved!


Save up to

50% OFF

On all your dental bill

Thank you

for sending!

Our Members Save Up to 50%

On All Their Dental Needs

Thank you!

Please check your inbox and spam folder



We never share your email



Wanna learn

how we work?

Sign up to recieve a guide of how Dental Discount Plan works. Plus be the first to hear about our special promotions for even deeper savings

Thank you

Save you!

Learn how Dental Plans can save you

up to 50% OFF  at YOUR DENTIST!

Check your inbox for your guide!

Learn more about our Dental Plan

First name


20-50% Off Dental

Last name


Immediate activation

Savings on all dental needs 

Plans start at $ 9.99/mo 

Join today and save at any of our participating providers

Thank you.

Check your Email