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How do I get my toddler to brush their teeth?

It can be just as hard to get your kids to brush their teeth as it is for them to eat their vegetables. It's critical to establish great oral hygiene habits when your child is still young. Here, our West Kelowna dentists share tips that can help you achieve this.

Sometimes your child might enjoy the experience of brushing their teeth, however, they may often put up a fight. But, it's critical for your child's teeth to be brushed at least two times a day. Until your child is approximately eight years old they won't have the proper brushing skills needed to do a good enough job by themselves.

This always has to be done, it's doesn't matter if your child wants to do it or not. You wouldn't let your kid sit in a dirty diaper just because they don't like to have their diaper changed, so you shouldn't let food or plaque remain on your child's teeth just because they don't want to have their teeth brushed. 

There are times when it can be a fight, so try to make it fun. Like most things, routine is key.

Tips & Tricks to Get Your Kids Excited About Brushing:

  • Offer small rewards for challenging toddlers after brushing – like stickers, reading a favorite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
  • Let your toddler or child hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you hold their brush to brush their teeth. Usually, this is a fun way that they enjoy brushing. 
  • Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
  • Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then start to brush. 
  • How you ask can allow them to feel some independence. You might ask “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.
  • 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.

If your toddler isn’t impressed with any of these methods, try using a piece of gauze to rub on their teeth. There are some pre-formed gauze pieces just for this purpose. If your dentist recommends using fluoride toothpaste once a day, just a dab is all that is necessary.

Contact our West Kelowna dentists today for more tips on brushing your toddler's teeth.

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