make brushing teeth fun

How to Get Toddlers to Brush Teeth

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Toddler Won’t Brush Teeth

It can be a struggle when your toddler refuses to brush their teeth.  You know that it’s something that should be a part of their regular hygiene routine.  But honestly, who wants to fight another battle or listen to another tantrum.  


brushing teeth with kids

How Do You Brush a Toddler’s Teeth?

toddler won't brush teeth

The easiest way to brush a toddler’s teeth is to actually sit or stand behind them.  Doing it this way makes it easy to reach all of their teeth without making it awkward or choking them. 

Are you worried about whether you or they are brushing for the right amount of time?

The appropriate length of time to brush their teeth is the time it takes to sing the ABC’s. 

We have done this since my daughter’s first dentist appointment when they told us. Now the kids know exactly what to expect.

It’s important to make sure you get the very backs of their teeth and their tongue. 

By brushing the very back, that hard to reach place, it helps with any issues with molars that may be coming in.

And brushing their tongue helps to make sure their breath doesn’t smell.

How to Get A Toddler to Brush Teeth?

how to get toddler to brush teeth

If you have a toddler who won’t brush their teeth, a great way to help is to make brushing teeth fun! 

Toddlers love to have fun!  Any reason for them to have a good time makes them excited and more engaged.  If you make something that is important for them to do fun, they will be much happier and willing to do it!

But how do you make brushing teeth fun for toddlers?  Here are some great ideas to try!

 Get a Toothbrush They Love!  

There are so many different toothbrushes out there.  Getting your kids a toothbrush with a character that they love on it is a great start.  This way something they like or love will be associated with brushing teeth.

Having a fun character and one they love associated with teeth brushing will make them excited to go brush their teeth.  Play up to that character when it’s time to brush their teeth.

Sing a Song to Get Them Moving

What little kid doesn’t like a fun song!  If your toddler won’t brush their teeth, try a song.   It can really be any kind of song that they love.

There are so many cute ones out there about brushing kids teeth. 

The one we love and use is from Doc McStuffins. It goes “You gotta brush em, brush ‘em, you gotta brush ‘em, brush ‘em, brush ‘em up and brush ‘em down, down, down.”  The kids go running for the bathroom as soon as we start singing it! This is a fun way to get the process going.  

Any song that gets the kids excited and they know it’s time to brush their teeth is good!

Be Consistent with Time to Brush Teeth

By being consistent every time you brush, toddlers know what to expect. 

Keep it simple, but be consistent. We sing the ABC’s so we know exactly when it’s finished.  It’s also a good way to teach the kids the ABC’s if you start young!

There are also fun songs out there that you could play on your phone or iPad. There is one by Disney that shows a magic timer so kids can see how long to brush. Just look up Disney brush teeth app to find it!

Use Fun Names for the Steps of Brushing Teeth

Giving the steps to brushing teeth fun names makes it not seem so mundane to kids.   It also makes it more of a fun activity rather than something that they “have to do”.

Some of the fun names that we use are calling brushing their tongues getting rid of stinky salami breath (we got it from Doc McStuffins!  The teeth brushing episode is a favorite in our house if you can’t tell!) 

When the kids dentist wanted my daughter to make sure to get the backs of her teeth, he referred to the bad things as sugar bunnies.  

So now when we are making sure to brush the back of their teeth, we say “sugar bunnies”. The kids think this is so funny!

tooth brushing for toddlers

Toddlers can always be tough refusing to do things, like when they won’t brush their teeth.   If you start early with brushing their teeth, they know that it is part of the daily plan and hopefully that should make it a little easier.  Plus these fun tips can help to encourage them to get it done!

How do you get toddlers to brush teeth?


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teeth brushing for toddlers

23 thoughts on “How to Get Toddlers to Brush Teeth”

  1. Oooh! I’m eating up all these ideas! Love the sugar bunnies idea! I’ve looked into those tooth brushes that play music while they brush. Haven’t made them jump yet, though.

  2. I got lucky with my toddler, she actually loves to brush her teeth! Getting her a battery-operated toothbrush helped with that, because now it’s just like mine!

  3. Make teeth brushing fun by allowing your child to pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. There are many kid toothbrushes out there, including ones that spin. Your child can select a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character or superhero on it.

  4. I’m SO thankful that my son loves to brush his teeth. He’s usually the one reminding us! But I’ll keep all of these in mind just in case #2 doesn’t like it as much as #1 🙂

    1. Dresses and Dinosaurs

      I hope they help! My daughter was more skeptical but my son loves to brush his teeth and we used these tips from day 1!

    1. Steph | Dresses and Dinosaurs

      I completely agree with the consistency – then they know exactly what to expect, which definitely helps!

  5. Cute post! I feel so lucky that my little guy loves to brush his teeth…I think it makes him feel like a big boy (he’s only 2). It’s honestly me that needs reminding that it’s time to brush his teeth! 🙂

  6. I definitely did some of these tricks to help with brushes my daughter’s teeth, and now she loves it. Thanks, for sharing.

  7. Katie @ Teacher and the Tots

    These are some awesome tips for making teeth brushing fun! My 18 month old is struggling with teeth brushing time right now so we will try some of these out!

    1. Steph | Dresses and Dinosaurs

      I hope they can help! Both of my kids loved the songs so I think that helped the most with getting them into the bathroom at least!

  8. Pingback: 5 Tips to Help Kids Start Talking - Dresses and Dinosaurs

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