Toddler tooth brushing = kicking screaming with mouth clamped shut.

But like all things with kids, they are very teachable. Make it a habit and it will stick.


  • Twice a day, 2 minutes each time. Start with bedtime. Then introduce wake up time later.
  • Training toothpaste/fluoride free toothpaste until your child stops swallowing toothpaste.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using toothpaste the size of a grain of rice for children under 3 and the size of a pea for children 3-6 years.
  • Use soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • All surfaces of the teeth need to be brushed.
  • Teach your kid how to rinse and spit. Practice. Practice. Practice.
  • Light brushing is sufficient to remove plaque. Aggressive scrubbing is not good for teeth and gum.
  • Dentist visit within 6 months of first tooth eruption.
  • This Guide from American Academy of Pediatrics is pretty awesome.


  • Do not do this when your kid is cranky. So if your kid is exhausted by the time shower is done, do it before shower.
  • Lead by example: you, cheerfully brushing your teeth. Just like the commercials.
  • Let him/her brush your teeth. It is super awkward with little fingers jabbing at your tonsils. Some people swear by simultaneously brushing the kiddo’s teeth while he/she brushes yours. My toddler was not fooled by this, unfortunately. But he was hugely entertained by brushing my teeth.
  • Let them brush a doll with teeth. I let my kid walk around with a toothbrush like a toy so he goes around brushing everyone’s teeth.
  • Run toothbrush under warm water. No one likes cold water on their teeth.
  • Let your kid brush his/her own teeth, with your help at the end.
  • Read books about tooth brushing.
  • Use a fun toothbrush. This is key, folks. Get one that lights up, have music, do something….. Electric toothbrush actually works better. Easier on you and it is intriguing to toddlers.
  • Brush to his/her favorite song.
  • Negotiate. Can I brush 1 tooth? Then cheer like your favorite team won World Cup. Do the wave. Your kid is probably beaming (or really confused) by now. Then ask, can I brush one more? And repeat. This worked brilliantly for me.
  • Let them participate. My kid likes squeezing things out of tubes, so he is more than happy to squeeze out toothpaste.
  • If toothpaste is gross to them, use water. It is more important to brush and rinse.
  • Reward. Stickers, books, favorites toys etc. Just don’t reward with a cookie.


May their teeth stay pearly until the tooth fairy gets them.


Yours Positively,

Positive Circle.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. kat says:

    This is very timely! I struggle most nights with my 15 month old, so will definitely be referencing this to try to make things fun for her. Thanks!


    1. You are welcome! 15 month old has limited understanding skills, so I think distraction and tricks are your best bet. Mine is a late bloomer in the teeth department so now I’m “negotiating” with a budding teenager (he’s 2😂).

      Liked by 1 person

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