How to Teach Toddler to Brush Teeth?

How can I teach my toddler to brush her own teeth?
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ByHannah Chow-Johnson, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and pediatrician at Loyola University Health System
Mar 2017
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As much as you’re probably ready to hand over the toothbrush to your toddler — and even if she wants to do it herself — she’s not really able to take ownership just yet. So she’ll need your help.

Work together: Show her how to brush all sides of each tooth thoroughly. Some parents like to use a timer or a sand hourglass to make sure she’s brushing long enough.

Use a small, soft toothbrush with a dollop of fluoride-free toothpaste, and brush inside, outside and on top of each tooth yourself. (If your kid hates the toothbrush, you can use or some cotton gauze.) Then let her try on her own. If she’s very strong-willed and clamps down so not to let you brush, try giving her the toothbrush first to try it on her own, then follow up yourself with a second brush to make sure the job is well done. 

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