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How do I get my toddler to brush their teeth?

Just like trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables, getting them to brush their teeth can be tricky. That said, forming good oral hygiene habits while they are young is critical. Here are some tips from our Sault Ste. Marie dentists.

On some days your child may enjoy the brushing experience, but often, 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.

Always remember that it must be completed, regardless of whether your child enjoys it or not. You wouldn't let your child sit in a soiled diaper simply because they don't want their diaper changed, so don't let food or plaque build up on your child's teeth simply because they don't want them brushed.

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

Here are some tricks to get your kids excited about brushing:

  • 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 they enjoy brushing. 
  • Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush. 
  • Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain 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 favourite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
  • Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favourite 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 none of these methods work for your toddler, try rubbing a piece of gauze on his teeth. There are some pre-formed gauze pieces available specifically for this purpose. If your dentist recommends using fluoride toothpaste once a day, a dab will suffice.

If you would like to learn more tips about brushing your toddler's teeth, contact our Sault Ste. Marie dentists today

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Looking for a dentist in Sault Ste. Marie? We're happily welcoming new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today. 

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