How to get your toddler to brush their teeth

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Teeth brushing in our house has always been a tricky one. Violet is the kind of toddler that will be totally into it one day, then refuse the next. To her, the toothbrush, toothpaste and her general mood really matter and will depend on whether we get a good brush in or not! We’ve had epic bathroom tantrums, but I think FINALLY we have cracked it.  We have also found our favourite brush too – so today’s post is all about getting your toddler to brush their teeth, a little review of our favourite toothbrushes and as all toddlers are different I’ve asked a few parenting blogger friends to help me out with their top tips too!

So, for us the brush really matters! If you don’t get the seal of approval on the right brush, Violet will lock her mouth tightly closed. We’ve been using the Foreo ISSA Mikro which is a super gentle, silicone electric toothbrush that offers a really deep clean by using sonic pulses. Violet loves the gentle vibrations and buzzing sound, plus it’s petit enough for little ones to hold and fit into their mouths too. I have got the bigger adult version (the ISSA 2) and it makes my teeth feel so clean, it honestly feels like I’ve just been to the dentist, it’s amazing! I’m hoping Violet thinks the same, she certainly enjoys using it and will often say ‘Teeth??’ during the day wanting to use her toothbrush.

So, that is our favourite brushes…. here are the top tips for getting your toddler to brush their teeth……

We got a Thomas tank engine toothbrush timer and he has really improved with brushing his teeth. My friends little girl has a My Little Pony one too

I think with anything tricky you have to try and make it fun so maybe watch a fun music video whilst they do it or tell them a 2 minute story as they brush and just take any negative associations away and replace with good ones

I bought a fruit flavoured toothpaste and now my kids love brushing their teeth!

We’ve had a mare with teeth brushing and the only thing that helps, but isn’t a full solution, is to buy a character toothbrush! He likes that his toothbrush has eyes!

We use the Disney Magic Timer App it’s great and they get stars and stickers when they brush for the full 2 minutes it got out children into a lovely routine

We compete to see who can make “ahhhh” or “eeeee” noises for the longest whilst brushing our teeth. I also found brushing my teeth at the same time encouraged my toddler to do his teeth on his own, before I did a second brush! We also use a great dentists Norwich – which I can recommend!

When he was younger we would distract him with YouTube on the TV or on our phones. Now he’s a little older (nearly 3) he likes to be in control over doing it so we make sure his toddler step is by the sink so he can have a go before Mummy finishes it off

My biggest tip as a former dental nurse and mum of 2 would be to make sure you show them you brushing from an early age and make it a part of the routine even before they have teeth. I’ve written a post on it…/

We use an app that he can dance along to, we roar to get his mouth wide open and then growl to get his teeth together and lips out of the way. We do his teeth first then let him do the last thirty seconds of it. He has a little practice on his stuffed animals as well (big into role play right now!)

Sing them a song to distract them. I tend to make up a song to the melody of a tune they like to encourage them. If all else fails I try to get them to laugh to make them open their mouth.

We love Blippi on YouTube – the toothbrushing song – as a dentist I am still ashamed to say my little one hates having her teeth brushed so we still get tantrums 2x a day. We also have a light up vibrating and singing toothbrush.

There’s a great podcast called Chompers – 2 minutes of a different theme – my 3 kids love it https:/

We have 3 toothbrushes lined up ready to go and we let our little one choose his favourite. It might be considered a little spoilt but if it get’s him to brush his teeth I really don’t care hah!

We pretend he’s a lion and lions need to brush their teeth. It involves a lot of roaring but it does the job!

A super simple personalised reward chart worked for us


Does your toddler like brushing their teeth? What are your top tips? 

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  • Some great ideas here. I found switching to a battery powered brush the same as ours really helped Emilia, as we always brushed at the same time but her first toothbrush just wasn’t as much fun as ours! Will try the growling and roaring thing to get her to open wider though – at the moment she does a cursory little brush herself and we give it a bit of a go but it is pretty half-assed! I don’t want to frighten her off it, but growling sounds fun!
    Also, HOW much like you does Violet look in the second to last pic?! Love it! x