8 Ways to Make Toothbrushing Fun for Toddlers
Getting your toddler to stand still is never easy. Getting them to stand still with their mouths open as you put in a foreign object? Now that can seem nearly impossible. But it can be done! Try to tackle toothbrushing with these 8 easy tips, and let’s see if we can’t get your toddler to say “ahh” without prying their mouths open.
1. Use the Chomper Chums app.
It can take a bit of creativity to get your little one excited about toothbrushing. Luckily, apps like Chomper Chums® have got you covered. Your child will earn rewards for brushing and flossing their teeth. They can then use the rewards to buy food or drinks for their virtual Chomper Chums pet. Don’t worry, though, the app is completely free and no exchange of money actually takes place.
2. Try some tunes.
Dentists recommend we brush our teeth for two minutes. But instead of watching the seconds tick down on your stopwatch, why not try some two-minute tunes? Most toddlers love to sing, so doing this may distract them from what’s happening around them, providing enough time for thorough brushing. This can be as simple as singing “This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth, so early in the morning.”
3. Buy a fancy toothbrush.
Toddlers need a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles; that’s the only toothbrush-specific recommendation from the American Dental Association (ADA). So the handle can be in the shape of their favorite character, it can light up, or even play music and still get the job done. Seeing these things on their oral health products may make brushing more fun as your little one will look forward to the flashing lights and using a toothbrush similar to the one SpongeBob has.
4. Tell silly stories.
Can’t find a story to encourage your toddler to brush their teeth? Make up your own. Give your toddler Sugar Monster banishing powers. Let them know that the only way to banish this villain from Tooth Fairy World is through the power of the Toothbrush. It sounds silly, but it works! Try to make up fun characters, like bacteria villains and superhero toothbrushes and toothpastes, or use anything you think will spark your toddler’s imagination and turn those two minutes into fun bonding moments.
5. Play the “Chase Me, Catch Me” game.
If your toddler likes to run away from you when it’s time to brush their teeth, it may be a sign that they want to connect with you first before any brushing begins. This is why they may also say, “Chase me” or “Catch me.” Play for a decent while and follow your child’s lead. Toothbrushing like this may take a little longer, but it will turn this everyday routine from being a task into being a game. And toddlers love games! In a few years, your little one will forget the struggle of brushing, but if they have one or several cavities, they won’t forget that. So start dinner early and give you and your little one some extra time for a game before brushing their teeth.
6. Turn the sink into a mini pool.
Getting toddlers to stand still for two minutes for toothbrushing sounds impossible, right? But what if you turned your boring old bathroom into a toddler-approved water park? That may just give you the two minutes you need to get a toothbrush into their mouth and remove any leftover food particles. Your mini pool can be as simple as filling the bathroom sink with enough water for your little one’s feet or if you’re having an extra hard time getting them to say “ahh,” try filling up the tub instead.
7. Get a fun-flavored toothpaste.
Start with travel-sized tubes of fruity, minty, and unflavored toothpaste to test out what your child likes best. You can also let your little one choose the flavor of fluoride toothpaste they’d like to use that night (berry? bubblegum?), as long as it has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If your little one doesn’t take to toothpaste and the unflavored kind doesn’t do it for them either, use plain water. Toothbrushing itself is more important than what you put on the bristles.
8. Let your toddler take over.
Brace yourself: this one involves lots of spills! If your little one is at that age where they want to do everything for themself, let them brush their teeth. We even recommend that you join them. That way, your child can see the way you hold your toothbrush and watch how you move the brush up and down, left and right, and in circular motions. Children love to copy, so it won’t be long before they’re doing the same thing with their toothbrushes too. As a result, your toddler gets a clean mouth (at least cleaner than it was before), the feeling of independence, and a sense of control over what goes into their mouth.
Best Dentist in Salem: Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry
Kids are different. Some of the tips outlined in this article may work for your toddler, others may not. Regardless of which camp your little one falls into, an appointment with the dentist might be all the reinforcement you need to get even the most strong-willed toddler to reconsider their oppositions against brushing. Drs. Cooper and Day are happy to take the time to explain to your child why brushing is important and why everyone needs to do it at least twice every day. We look forward to seeing your child and setting a foundation for a lifetime of excellent oral health.