Toddlers are independent little creatures, which is so much fun to watch . . . but not so much fun if you want their teeth to actually get clean when it is time to brush. I’m partnering with Orajel™ as a Smilehood ambassador and am so excited to share some tips that will make your life easier . . . at least when it comes to brushing your toddler’s teeth.
Kids are not ready to brush their teeth independently until they are around age 5 or older so they are going to need some help to get all those teeth clean.
Toddlers can start practicing brushing their own teeth around age 2, and it is important to let them practice, but what do you do when your toddler won’t hand that toothbrush over and let you really clean her teeth?
My kids have all gone through phases where they refused to let me brush their teeth. I had to get a bit creative. Now my twins are nearly two and we have discovered some fun ways to make sure those little teeth get clean.
One twin is particularly stubborn and needs a lot of encouraging to let me brush her teeth.
We have some tips to help you out if your independent toddler won’t let you brush his teeth.
I’ve found compromising can be a very effective way to deal with a stubborn toddler. We have a rule in my house. My toddlers get to brush their teeth AFTER I get a turn brushing. Taking turns is a concept we are working on in other areas of their life so they are already familiar with it and, while they may not be happy with it, they know how it works and they are usually willing to go with it.
Let your toddler brush your teeth
For an independent toddler who really just wants to be a big person, getting the chance to brush moms teeth can be a major inceptive. If your toddler won’t let you brush her teeth, try letting her brush yours first.
A little warning: make sure your toddler doesn’t shove the toothbrush down your throat.
Once your toddler has had a chance to brush your teeth, you get your turn to brush hers.
Distractions are your friend
The best way I know to get a toddler to do something she doesn’t want to do is to offer a distraction. There’s a cute little song I used to sing as part of our dental health theme when I worked as a home daycare provider that I now sing with my own kids. It does a great job distracting kids while you brush their teeth and gums. Since they are distracted, this song lets me really clean my toddlers’ molars and gums without them putting up a fight.
It goes like this (sung to the tune of Row,Row, Row your Boat):
Let your toddler pick out her own toothbrush
We talked about this earlier when we discussed ways to make it fun to brush teeth, but this makes such a difference in your brushing routine. Give your toddler ownership over her teeth. Letting her pick out her own toothbrush helps your toddler get excited about brushing her teeth and makes life WAY easier on you.
My twins are obsessed with everything Elmo right now. I love the Baby Orajel Tooth & Gum Cleanser and it has Elmo front and center.
They also have some other great options if Elmo isn’t your thing, including PAW Patrol, My Little Pony, Thomas and Friends, Super Mario, and Spider-Man.
Orajel is one of the most trusted brands of oral care solutions for babies and young children and I’ve used them with all of my kids. I love that they have so many options for every stage.
“Count” your toddler’s teeth
Even the most reluctant toddler is usually on board if you tell her you want to count how many teeth she has. Pull out the toothbrush and brush each tooth as you count it.
Not only does this simplify brushing your toddler’s teeth, it is also great practice for your child’s first trip to the dentist office.
“Tickle” your Toddler’s Teeth
If your toddler isn’t into counting you could try “tickling” your toddler’s teeth. Go in and brush in short bursts and say “tickle tickle tickle”. It will take a bit longer but it will be more fun for both of you if your toddler goes for it.
Use Two Toothbrushes
Half the battle may be just that your toddler wants to hold the toothbrush. Use two toothbrushes, one for you to use and one for your toddler to hold. Your toddler may try and brush her teeth at the same time but that’s perfectly fine — it just means she’ll be more willing to open her mouth up wide so you can get in there and brush.
The quickest way to have a power struggle with a toddler is to not be consistent. Once your toddler knows you will give in, she will push and push until you do. Make it easier on both of you by sticking to a consistent brushing schedule. If you set the rule that you brush teeth after every meal, make sure you brush teeth after every meal.
Work brushing teeth into your morning and bedtime routine so that it becomes a habit and your toddler knows what to expect. You’ll have much better luck and your toddler will learn important dental hygiene habits.
Do you have a toddler who won’t let you brush his teeth? What solutions have you come up with?
Visit Orajel for more tips on keeping your toddler’s teeth healthy.
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This post has been sponsored by Orajel. As always, all opinions are my own.