How To Brush Toddler Teeth Without a Fight!

If you’re a mummy with a toddler, then you know that brushing their teeth can be a bit of a battle. Here’s some effective tips on how to brush toddler teeth to help make the process a little easier, and hopefully less stressful!

It’s no secret that toddlers can be a handful.

They’re energetic, curious and always on the move.

But what many parents don’t know is that this behaviour can also make tooth brushing a challenge.

And have damaging effects on their child’s health.

In fact, according to Public Health England, around 11% of 3 year olds in 2020 already had tooth decay.

And the Oral Health Foundation say that “tooth decay is almost entirely preventable, yet it remains the number one reason for childhood hospital admissions for general anaesthesia in the UK.”

If you're a mummy with a toddler, then you know that brushing their teeth can be a bit of a battle. Here are some effective tips on how to brush a toddler's teeth to help make the process a little easier, and hopefully less stressful!

Now I don’t want to scare you. But the fact is being able to brush a toddler’s teeth properly can prevent tooth decay. The sooner our darling little toddlers get used to have their teeth brushed, the better!

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How to Brush Toddler Teeth

It can be difficult to brush a toddler’s teeth. They usually don’t want to sit still. And they can can put up quite a battle when they set their mind to it.

(Hands up if you have a stubborn toddler too!)

So to avoid the stress caused by wrangling your headstrong toddler, here are some tips to help make brushing their teeth more fun and less of a battle:

  • Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles and is the correct size for their mouth. If a toothbrush is too big, or too hard then brushing might be painful and they’re definitely going to resist it.
  • Let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Your toddler will be more likely to want to use it if they picked it out themselves.
  • Make brushing teeth into a game. Sing a song, count how many teeth you brush, or have a race to see who can brush their teeth the fastest.
  • Let your toddler use a toothbrush that is designed for children. We don’t give our kiddos full-sized cutlery when they first start learning how to eat by themselves. It’s the same with brushing their teeth.
  • Use toothpaste that is designed for toddlers. Adult toothpaste often has a really strong minty taste that most toddlers just don’t like.
  • Try a toothbrush that has a timer. This will help ensure that they brush their teeth for the recommended two minutes.

Make a Routine

It’s important to brush a toddler’s teeth twice a day. Make tooth brushing a part of your daily routine and it will be easier for both of you.

Brushing your toddler’s teeth doesn’t have to be a battle. With a little creativity and some helpful tips, you can make tooth brushing a fun and positive experience for both of you.

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Toddler Tooth Brushing: Method

The best way to brush a toddler’s teeth is by using a toothbrush that is designed for their age group.

There are toothbrushes specifically for toddlers that have soft bristles and a small head. This makes it easier to reach all of the teeth, even the ones in the back.

When brushing a toddler’s teeth, use a gentle circular motion.

Make sure to brush on the inside surfaces of the teeth and to use a light back-and-forth motion on the chewing surfaces of the molars.

Don’t forget to brush your child’s tongue, too! This will help remove bacteria and freshen their breath.

It is important to brush a toddler’s teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

You might also want to encourage your child to brush their teeth after meals and snacks, too. But I would recommend talking to your dentist about this first.

Watch this handy toddler tooth brushing video by Dr Ranj to see how it’s done.

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Toothbrushes For Toddlers

If you are looking for a toothbrush that is specifically designed for toddlers, there are a few different options to choose from.

One of the best toothbrushes for toddlers up to the age of 2 year is the Jordan Step 1 toothbrush. The easy-grip handle and short brush head is ideal for little mouths.

Another good option is the Colgate Kids Extra Soft toothbrush. It’s a name we all know and trust, and is designed specifically for toddlers.

If you’re looking for a plastic-free choice, then this set of organic bamboo toothbrushes by Wild and Stone are ideal.

For toddlers aged 2 or 3, a fun option is a toothbrush with a character on it like this Peppa Pig Toothbrush, or this Paw Patrol pack of two. These toothbrushes are designed to appeal to children and make brushing their teeth more fun.

When choosing a toothbrush for your toddler, you should also think about whether you want to choose a manual or electronic toothbrush.

Manual toothbrushes are the traditional toothbrushes that we all know and love. They have a handle and bristles that you use to scrub your teeth.

Electronic Toothbrushes for Toddlers

Electronic toothbrushes have a handle and bristles, but they also have a small motor inside of them. This motor helps to move the toothbrush around your teeth and gums.

I particularly like this BabySonic electric toothbrush by Brush Baby. It even has an in-built two minute timer so your little one knows when to stop brushing.

No matter what type of toothbrush you choose, it is important to make sure that your toddler is brushing their teeth correctly.

What Toothpaste is Best For Toddlers?

When it comes to toothpaste for toddlers, it is important to find one that is low in fluoride.

Too much fluoride can actually be harmful to young children’s teeth, so it is important to find a sugar free toothpaste that is specifically designed for toddlers.

As for what toothpaste is best for toddlers, there are many options available.

Some parents prefer to use toothpaste specifically designed for toddlers, while others may opt for a more natural toothpaste option, such as baking soda or tooth powder.

Another thing to consider when it comes to toothpaste for toddlers is the flavour.

Some toothpastes are flavoured with strawberry, grape, or mint.

These flavours can help make brushing a toddler’s teeth more enjoyable. But, if your child is sensitive to certain flavours, you may want to choose a toothpaste without a strong flavour.

Ultimately, it is important to find a toothpaste that your child is comfortable with and will brush their teeth with regularly.

Should 2 Years Olds Use Fluoride Toothpaste?

When it comes to toothpaste for toddlers, there are a few different things you need to consider.

The first is whether or not to use fluoride toothpaste. The NHS recommends using toothpaste specifically for small children, typically 0-2 and then 3-5 years.

It’s recommended to use a toothpaste containing 1000ppm of Fluoride for children aged two and under.

Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay and cavities.

It’s also important to make sure that your child is using the correct amount of toothpaste. Just a smear of toothpaste is recommended for children under 3 years old.

How Do You Brush a Toddler’s Teeth When They Refuse?

One of the most common issues that parents face is how to brush their toddler’s teeth when they refuse.

This can be a difficult task, but there are a few tips that can help make it easier.

The first thing you should do is make brushing teeth fun. Get a toothbrush that is colourful or has a character on it that your child likes. You can also sing a song while brushing teeth or make up a tooth brushing game.

Try challenging your child to see how long they can brush their teeth without stopping.

One way to make brushing their teeth more fun is to let them help you brush your teeth. This way, they can see that brushing their teeth is just part of a regular routine.

You can also try giving them a toothbrush of their own to hold and brush on their own.

Another thing that can help is to start brushing teeth early. This will get your child used to the process and they will be less likely to resist later on.

Don’t try to brush your child’s teeth all at once. Start with the front teeth and then move to the back. Brushing teeth should take about two minutes.

Still Resisting?

If your toddler is still resistant to brushing their teeth, you can try using a sticker reward chart. For every day they brush their teeth, they get a sticker. I love this one and this one, because they’re specifically rewarding toothbrushing!

If you’re really struggling to brush your toddler’s teeth, try this U-shaped toothbrush. They’re also sometimes known as 360 toothbrushes. The shape of the brush head makes brushing so much easier for little kids to manage by themselves.

Finally, make sure you are patient and take your time. If you get stressed out, so will your toddler.

If you follow these tips, brushing your toddler’s teeth can be a lot less stressful for both of you!

Brush Toddler Teeth While Sleeping

One way to make brushing your toddler’s teeth easier is to do it while they are sleeping.

This way there is no need for a fight. and they will not even realise that their teeth are being brushed.

One downside to this method, however, is that it may be more difficult to clean all of the tooth surfaces.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend brushing your child’s teeth while they’re asleep unless they become worryingly distressed by toothbrushing.

If you do choose to brush their teeth while they’re sleeping, at some point you’re going to have to go through the process of teaching your child how to brush their teeth properly.

Teaching your toddler how to brush their teeth from a young age is far easier than introducing toothbrushing into their daily routine as they grow older.

How To Brush Toddler Teeth: Conclusion

Despite the challenges, it’s important to clean your toddler’s teeth.

The good news is that there are many different ways to make brushing their teeth more fun and less frustrating.

Hopefully these tips will help make the process a little bit easier.

Use one of the toothbrushes I’ve recommended or come up with a game that makes brushing more enjoyable for both you and your child.

Remember to always be patient and keep praising them when they do a good job!

What Next?

Read these posts next or bookmark them for later:

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If you're a mummy with a toddler, then you know that brushing their teeth can be a bit of a battle. Here are some effective tips on how to brush a toddler's teeth to help make the process a little easier, and hopefully less stressful!
If you're a mummy with a toddler, then you know that brushing their teeth can be a bit of a battle. Here are some effective tips on how to brush a toddler's teeth to help make the process a little easier, and hopefully less stressful!
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Jennie (GinGin & Roo)
Jennie (GinGin & Roo)

Hi, I’m Jennie and I’m the blogger and content creator behind the award-winning blog GinGin & Roo, a UK parenting and lifestyle blog.

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12 Comments

  1. March 20, 2022 / 5:08 pm

    Great tips. I remember when my niece and nephew were little, it was always a struggle to get them to brush their teeth. Luckily, they now understand the importance of it.

  2. March 20, 2022 / 12:33 pm

    Making it in to a game is a great idea… you need to catch their imagination!

  3. March 19, 2022 / 8:14 am

    Bless them, always a fight with most things. I don’t miss it, although I wish I’d seen this post back then 😀

  4. March 18, 2022 / 10:07 am

    I used to sing a song and we also had a chart they got to stamp after each successful tooth brushing session

  5. March 18, 2022 / 7:00 am

    I really don’t miss the days of fighting with my toddlers to get their teeth brushed!

    • March 19, 2022 / 8:13 am

      I quickly read that and thought you said you missed it, I nearly dropped my laptop lol!
      But yes I don’t miss it, but I still have some days like this even with a five year old!!!

  6. March 17, 2022 / 7:54 pm

    With a future toddler on my hands I will be saving these tips!

  7. March 17, 2022 / 5:54 pm

    I am not a mummy BUT can empathise somewhat as I have two reluctant dogs where teeth are concerned! Great tips !

  8. March 17, 2022 / 3:31 pm

    I have five grown up children and remember clearly struggling to brush todler teeth. I found it useful to buy a dental mirror so they could see what needed doing.

  9. March 17, 2022 / 12:15 pm

    Excellent tips, getting them into teeth brush at a young age really helps when they become grotty teens!

  10. March 17, 2022 / 11:53 am

    We have had such a battle with ours, the go through stages of loving it then hating it! We did find a flavourless toothpaste which was really helpful for one of ours who just hates all the flavours!

  11. March 13, 2022 / 2:00 pm

    We always struggled with brushing teeth, now that they are 8 and 9, we have to make sure they do it properly

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