How to Teach Toddler to Brush Teeth?

How can I teach my toddler to brush her own teeth?
profile picture of Hannah 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
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
Pediatrician
Updated
Mar 2017
Hero Image

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. 

Plus, More from TheBump:

 

Related Video

Itchy Skin in Babies

Wendy Sue Swanson, MD
Pediatrician

How to Check for Lice

Kristina Cappetta

Where Do Birthmarks Come From?

Alanna Levine, MD
Pediatrician

Lump in a Baby’s Abdomen

Wendy Sue Swanson, MD
Pediatrician

Diaper Rash

Jennifer L.W. Fink
Registered Nurse

Genius New Postpartum Underwear Makes Recovery Way Easier

Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
Published
09/23/2019

6 Ways to Keep Baby Healthy

Elena Donovan Mauer

A Reminder to Moms: Showering Is Not Selfish

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
08/17/2017

Two-Year Molars?

Hannah 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
Pediatrician

Head Lice 101

Kristina Cappetta

How to Care for Baby's Umbilical Cord

Paula Prezioso, MD
Pediatrician
Advertisement