How to Brush a Toddler's Teeth

How do I get my toddlers to allow me brush their teeth?

That's what I found myself researching last night. Thus far it's been a struggle getting the twins to allow me brush their teeth. I really wasn't interested in making an unpleasant event out of this so I turned to Mr Google and Master YouTube. This is the video I found most helpful

After this, I got both girls to stand (almost) still without fighting or complaining for 30 seconds each while I brushed their teeth. This morning we extended that time a bit. Here are a few things that contributed to our successful teeth brushing
  1. I let the girls watch the YouTube video with me. They were fascinated by the concept of a mom brushing her toddler's teeth
  2. Sing a song while brushing. I tried the song the woman in the video was singing but it didn't work. Since the girls already know the words "brush" and "teeth". I just chanted "brush your teeth" to a random tune in my head
  3. Start early - I started giving the girls toothbrushes from their first birthday. They'd nibble on them for a few minutes and that was good enough for me. I was particularly happy with the MAM Learn to Brush Set as they had a small bristle head plus a gum massaging tip at the non-bristle end. When the bristles started coming off, I couldn't find them again to buy in Calgary so I switched to a generic toddler brush.
  4. In the last couple of months, I let them see me brushing. They quickly caught on to the concept of moving the brush around your mouth just like mommy does
Numbers 3 and 4 in the list above created the familiarity that made it easier for numbers 1 and 2 to be successful. Dental hygiene WIN!

Extra Tip: Water is the last thing the girls drink before bedtime. The thinking is that it rinses out food remnants and sugar from their mouth so those don't sit in there overnight and create stanky breath. Toddler mamas, any dental hygiene magic bullets or working tips you'd like to share? Please do! 

Have a great weekend!

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  1. I let my girls stand on a stool at the sink. They "wash" their hands while I brush their teeth. I stand behind them for a good grip.

    I also agree that watching mommy brush her own teeth is good incentive.

  2. I've found it most helpful to brush the girls' teeth while they're still in their high chairs. That way they can't run away from me :) They know they have to brush before they're allowed to get down. I let them brush for a few moments, then I brush thoroughly, then they brush their tongues to round it off. They brush after dinner, and then get a drink of water right before bed, so that's the last thing they have in their mouths before they go to bed.

    I particularly love Tom's Strawberry toothpaste, b/c it's fluoride-free---you can get three tubes of it from Amazon for a good price. We also use MAM toothbrushes. I agree, those are pretty great; I particularly love that they don't have any BPA.

  3. Okay, I used to be a dental hygienist so I'll chime in! We (usually) stand on a stool in front of the sink. Each girl gets her own toothbrush and mommy gets a toothbrush for each girl. We use fluoride free (so important!) toothpaste. I stand *above* and *behind* each little girly while I brush her teeth. I use the left hand under her jaw to tilt her head back (gently) and I instruct her to "Show mommy your big alligator mouth!" Sometimes they like to growl or say "ahhhhhhhhhh" while I am brushing their alligator teeth. With a young toddler (under 2.5?) I think its best to just get in there, get the job done and get out. I love that song that woman was singing though- I may try to work that in. While I am brushing one girl's teeth, the one not having her teeth brushed is encouraged to use her own toothbrush to brush her teeth like a big girl. LOL We talk a LOT while brushing teeth.

  4. We do the brushing and flossing routine three times a day each day (unless we go out for a meal). We use fluoride free toothpaste and mint floss followed by CTx2 spray (carefree makes it) which contains Xylitol which helps prevent cavities and tastes like grape...It is almost like a reward after brushing. All four of the babies love their 'spray' and often point to my pocket where I keep it after flossing is done. It sounds like your girls are enjoying their brushing routine.

    : 0 ) Theresa

  5. Such anxiety around this!! Great tips! Sometimes mine like to hold one while I use a different one to brush - seems to distract!

  6. it's of good tips here. Thanks all and wish me luck

  7. You have such wonderful tips!!

  8. I may have to try that song - very cute! I've tried a ton of tricks over my boys' toddler years. My 2 yr old's favorite is being hung upside down over my shoulder while I brush. He's getting a little heavy for it now, but whatever works and makes it fun so they have a good attitude about it! :) He also likes to show his toys how we brush - he likes an audience, apparently!

  9. That's a cute song - I may have to try that! We've tried so many different things. Something works for a while, then we have to change it up. My 2-year-old's favorite is being hung upside down over my shoulder while we brush. He's getting a little heavy for it, but whatever works and makes it fun so they have a good attitude about brushing! He also likes to show his toys how he brushes - apparently, he enjoys an audience!


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