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How do I get my toddler to brush their teeth?

Occasionally, you may have a hard time getting your child to brush their teeth. Even so, it is very important to create good oral hygiene habits. Our dentists at Family Dental Care - Downtown in Prince George share some tips on how to encourage your child to brush.

There will be many days that your child may willingly participate in the teeth brushing process, but there also be many days that they may put up a fight. It is, however, incredibly important that your child has their teeth brushed at least twice a day. Until your child reaches eight years of age they won't have the proper dexterity to do a good enough job brushing their teeth on their own.

It is important to remember that it will always need to be done thoroughly regardless of whether your child would like to or not. 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.

The more that you implement it as part of a routine the less trouble it should be. It may also help to try to make it fun.

How you can make your child excited about brushing their teeth:

  • It may help to allow your toddler to brush your teeth while you brush theirs. Usually, this is a fun way that they enjoy brushing. 
  • Look into a mirror with your child and ask them to help you look for the "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush. 
  • Provide your child with a toothbrush that is themed for children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
  • Offer small rewards for challenging toddlers after brushing – like 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.
  • 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.

If you still cannot get your child to allow you to brush their teeth then it may be beneficial to just use a piece of gauze to rub their teeth down. 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.

If you have any questions about how to help your child with oral health care, contact our Family Dental Care - Downtown dentists in Prince George, or reach out to the Family Dental Care office nearest you.

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