How to get your toddler to WANT to brush their teeth

You’ve tried it all.

Literally if your mother-in-law were to ask, “Have you tried [insert something you’ve already tried]?” one more time, you’re going to bang your head against the wall.

Getting your toddler to brush their teeth let alone WANT to brush their teeth feels like an uphill battle.

You’ve tried asking your toddler politely to brush their teeth. You tell them how important it is to brush your teeth. You’ve even had to bring in the big guns…the bribe.

And when you do brush their teeth they are squirming, moving all around, and it feels like you only get the toothbrush to get to some of their teeth. Not the whole mouth. And definitely not a thorough brushing like you’d want to do.

Really, how are you supposed to do that while they’re running around the bathroom screaming at the top of their little lungs!?

Well, here at Dental Associates we understand how difficult it can be to get your toddler to want to brush their teeth. So we teamed together and came up with a couple of fun (no stress!) strategies you can use for your family that’ll help make brushing their teeth fun and enjoyable.

Here is how to get your toddler to not only brush their teeth, but WANT to brush their teeth:

1. Turn it into a game

Kids love to play! If you can add funny voices, characters, and lots of play whenever you’re brushing your teeth, it’ll teach your child that brushing your teeth is an enjoyable experience (which it is!).

You can even make it something that your child looks forward to. They get to go on an adventure with their favorite character every time they brush their teeth. You can even have your toddler play their favorite song (most songs are around the 2 minute mark anyways!) and the goal is to keep brushing until the song ends.

As an added bonus you can brush your teeth at the same time and dance while you’re both brushing your teeth. Make it fun and silly 🙂

2. Create a habit and make it part of a schedule

Build a habit upon a habit. Meaning, before they go to bed the first thing they’ll wash their hands and then brush their teeth. One simple consistent habit after another makes it easier for them to remember what comes next and to get comfortable with the routine of it. Put in a small one-minute habit before brushing their teeth and do it consistently and daily to get them in a schedule and flow.

Some Examples of One-minute habits you can try before brushing their teeth are:

  • Let them put their favorite action figure or doll on the bathroom counter prior to brushing their teeth (this doll/action figure is their tooth buddy and is there to help them with brushing their teeth!)
  • Pick a song and have that be your “Brushing Your Teeth” song that plays every time that it’s time to brush your teeth (Don’t even mention “Let it Go” from Frozen–you’ll thank us later!)
  • Create a special handshake or dance that you get to do before brushing your teeth

3. Brush your teeth at the same time

This is probably one of the fastest solutions.

Kids want to be like you and if they see you enjoying the experience they’re going to want to join in as well. The point of the matter is to make brushing your teeth simple and enjoyable. If you’re chasing, running after them, and getting frustrated during the process, it’ll make it that much harder to get your child to want to keep participating. They’ll associate brushing their teeth as a frustrating and harsh experience.

Which none of us like or enjoy frustrating or harsh experiences!

Teaching good dental habits (brushing, flossing, eating healthy) in a fun and engaging way can start the process of getting them eager to keep up with their dental health and create solid dental habits that’ll help them as they grow.

We hope this article has helped you with figuring out fun and unique solutions to get your toddler to want to brush your teeth.

No more running around trying to wrangle a spirited toddler into wanting to brush their teeth!

You have better things to do with your time together like watching another episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, running in your backyard, or reading stories about the tooth fairy!

(Our favorite is tooth fairy stories!)


If you’re having trouble getting your toddler to want to brush their teeth, come in and speak with our trained pediatric dental professionals to get even more tips on how to get your toddler excited about brushing their teeth!