How to Get Your Toddler to Brush His/Her Teeth

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I’m going to be absolutely truthful from the very get-go.  What I’m about to tell you might not fit into your style of parenting, but definitely worked for us!

Everyone will tell you that every child is different. You can look up every trick or technique in any book or resource you wish, but truly, it’s your very wise, personal curated technique that will get your child brushing his or her teeth.

I used to worry about many things when my almost 2 year old still wasn’t brushing his dirty teeth. Of course, I couldn’t get in there either, because he would scream bloody murder when I got anywhere near it. My friends offered their own tricks, but none of it worked. Some of the tricks were similar to what the toothbrushing tips suggested by Dr. Sears.  I even thought about tying him down and forcing his mouth open but my heart felt like breaking into a million pieces just thinking I’d be torturing him.

I worried about him getting a horrible tooth infection happening and the dentist not being able to do anything about it because he won’t allow anyone to get into his mouth. I worried about his teeth just falling off and maybe even swallowing one of them by accident. I worried about how uneven it would all turn out because some would be rotten while others grew out of place to replace the teeth that fell off. So you see, my mind went absolutely crazy. Yet, there wasn’t much I could really do.

Photo credit to: cgw.com

Photo credit to: cgw.com

Gradually after about 2 and a half years old, he started to play around with his tooth brush. He liked the flavor of the tooth paste and thought it was candy. So he would put the brush in his mouth and just suck on the paste. Sometimes he would proudly say, “I’m brushing, Mommy!” I would acknowledge and clap my hands, hoping he would get that it was a really positive thing.

Then one day … around Christmas … are you ready for this?

We were watching “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” Yup! That’s right! Jim Carrey saved Oliver’s teeth! When little Oliver saw the bugs that were rolling around the Grinch’s mouth, he thought that there could be a possibility that the same bugs would climb through his own mouth.  Low and behold … that same night, he brushed like I’d never seen him brush before! In fact, he even asked ME to brush his teeth for him! He wanted it to be brushed so well that bugs couldn’t live in it!

I hate to say to use fear as a weapon, but unbelievably it worked in this situation.  Again, every child is different. If your child is as resistant as mine was, you will eventually find your own special way of getting him or her to brush those teeth.

Ultimately, I realized my fears were so silly. Yes, children can have tooth aches and sometimes problems, but they have teeth that don’t rot quite as fast as our old ones.  I guess the guy who engineered us just knew that a majority of the population really wouldn’t be ready to brush as well. So it’s really ok to wait until they truly understand and are ready!