The Toddler Brushing Teeth Struggle is Real!

toddler brushing teeth struggle

Many parents have experienced the hardship of a toddler cleaning his or her teeth at some point. While brushing, your toddler may not open his or her mouth, chomp down on the toothbrush, yell, or struggle. They make brushing teeth an uphill task.

If you force them to do it when they do not like it, your child may become furious and throw tantrums. This makes you agitated as well. But you cannot leave your toddler’s teeth unbrushed. Pediatric dentists insist that it must be done, whether your toddler likes it or not. The struggle is real.

But it doesn’t have to be so bad every time. There are ways you can convince your toddler to enjoy brushing their teeth. The toddler teeth are sensitive and require attention, but worry not. Take a deep breath. Let’s investigate some of the ways to end this struggle.

Why Won’t My Toddler Brush Their Teeth?

It doesn’t matter how much your toddler dislikes dental office visits. They have to do it. Qualified health care providers testify that kids who have tooth decay and unclean teeth will undoubtedly develop cavities. The brushing struggle must be overcome to maintain healthy teeth.

To avoid problems between dental visits, regular brushing is necessary. Most children do not consider that cleaning their teeth is essential and are unaware that it will lead to tooth decay and overall health problems. 

Kids prefer to do fun activities all the time, so standing still for four minutes while their teeth are brushed might feel like a lifetime to a toddler. If you have a toddler between the ages of one and four, you should be aware that this is likely one of the main reasons kids dislike having their teeth cleaned.

Tooth brushing can be unpleasant, inconvenient, or even irritable for your toddler if he or she is hypersensitive to sensations. This sensitivity is frequently linked to sensory difficulties in kids.

When they are exposed to brushing, a child may throw tantrums in order to avoid the situation. If you’re not sure why your child dislikes the sensation of brushing their teeth, directly ask them about the reason behind it. Just ensure that you inquire when they are not in a bad mood. Their reasoning could astound you. If you know why your child dislikes cleaning his or her teeth, you can help them overcome it. If they have sensitive teeth, you can buy smaller brushes or medicated toothpaste. With your help, they can become desensitized, but it will take some time.

They may also dislike the flavor of the toothpaste, so it’s always a good idea to ask if they’d want to try a different flavor. After that, let them choose which type they’d prefer. Even if flavor plays a minor role, asking them offers them a feeling of control, and they may even deem brushing their teeth a fun activity.

Is It Normal for Them to Hate Brushing Their Teeth?

Research shows that it is very common for kids to hate brushing their teeth at some point in their growing years. Usually, it happens between ages two and five, according to dentists.

The cause behind it may be development that makes them feel self-sufficient and wanting freedom from their parents’ grip in certain areas. But they are unable to express their desires fully, so instead, they retaliate by complicating the oral hygiene process.

Some doctors also believe that the problem of not brushing teeth may be caused by sensory issues.

In any case, it is a common problem among toddlers and can be overcome with time and effort.

How Do You Brush Toddler’s Teeth When They Won’t Let You?

You have to brush your baby’s teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoridated toothpaste is important for keeping your child’s teeth clean and healthy.

 There are many types of toothbrushes that are made specifically for toddlers. These varieties include manual infant toothbrushes and electric versions.

Never pressure your child to brush his or her teeth. It never works. Instead, it may scar them for life. Don’t make it a power struggle. Rather, show your child that you are both on the same team. Talk to your toddler’s dentist about the problem and see if there are any medications or practices that might help ease some of their discomforts.

Whatever the cause for your child’s aversion to oral hygiene, remember that modeling healthy habits for your child includes taking care of yourself. Brush your teeth in the morning and night, and do this in front of your toddler. When your toddler sees you prioritize and enjoy healthy behaviors, he or she will be more inclined to do so as well.

Also, see a qualified healthcare provider or therapist in order to help your child overcome his or her fear. They can help you find the root cause of the problem. Finding the root of the problem is the first step toward making your child brush his or her teeth without drama.

How Can I Get My Toddler to Brush His Teeth Easier?

It is not easy to get your toddler to willingly have his teeth brushed.  Try the following tips to make it easier.

  1. Use Visual Aids

You can make brushing teeth fun by letting them read books or watch videos about oral hygiene that are geared toward kids. Many notable books, TV programs, and online videos educate youngsters about the importance of instilling good teeth brushing practices. Moreover, they are fun to watch!

  1. Make it a Game!

Kids, whether infants, toddlers, or older, acquire knowledge through playing. Use fun, age-appropriate activities to teach them about brushing their teeth and motivate them to brush properly.

Try this: Draw a happy face with teeth on a whiteboard. Color the teeth yellow, then allow the youngster to erase the “decay,” revealing white teeth. Discuss the similarities between brushing their teeth and erasing the yellow “decay” from the illustrated teeth. Emphasize the significance of brushing teeth and oral care to keep their teeth white and healthy.

  1. Time the Activity

Encouraging your kids to brush for three whole minutes is one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. Make it a race by setting a timer to make the kids understand how long to clean their teeth.

Maintain a sticker chart to encourage your kid to record the time he or she cleans their own teeth each day.

  1. Keep Trying!

Another technique to aid toddlers who are hypersensitive to the sensations involved with brushing their teeth or gums is to push down forcefully on their shoulders. In most cases, force tactics don’t work, but positioning your child in this way helps keep his or her chin securely in place. Deep pressure is also a technique that helps in soothing children with sensory sensitivity. Be careful not to make it seem as if you are angry, or it may scare  the child further.

  1. You Have to Issue Warnings

Many young children become irritated and refuse to clean their teeth and need reminders of the authority of a parent. When your kid is adamant about brushing teeth without any apparent reason you can set some positive or negative reinforcements to encourage them., 

Moreover, you must make them see the importance of brushing your teeth and why you are so strict on this matter. Once they know you are doing this for their own good, they will listen to your warnings.

How Do I Get My Toddler to Like Brushing Her Teeth?

How Do I Get My Toddler To Like Brushing Her Teeth

Some toddlers will resist cleaning their teeth no matter how hard you emphasize the necessity of keeping them clean and strong. If you’re wary of the daily tantrums and squabbles, try the following suggestions to make brushing teeth a pleasant experience for your rebellious toddler.

Serve as a Role Model

Toddlers typically like imitating their parents’ actions. Brush your teeth as your toddler watches to make this tedious activity more enjoyable while setting an excellent example at the same time.

Brush and Sing

Everything is more delightful when accompanied by music. Unfortunately, brushing your teeth is a bland and monotonous routine task that children typically despise. Pick a tooth brushing fun song to sing to your young toddler, or write some lyrics yourself. 

Allow them to choose one of their favorite songs to play while brushing. Extra points if the music lasts longer than two minutes to promote thorough brushing.!

Nowadays, nursery rhymes that encourage good dental hygiene are readily available online. Use them to your advantage and see the results yourself.

Engaging in Other Activities

Brushing may be made more enjoyable when using accessories, games, or applications side by side. Bring your child’s favorite toys into the bathroom and have him or her wash their mouths. Pretend a germ is the enemy inside your kid’s mouth and your kid is a superhero who kills it with his toothbrush. Alternatively, employ smartphone applications that play music or include characters in order to motivate children to clean their teeth.

Allow Them to Make Their own Decisions

Although practicing oral hygiene is not an option but a necessity, you should still provide your child choices when it comes to cleaning his or her teeth. You can give them more freedom when it comes to choosing their favorite toothbrush or toothpaste flavor.

You might even keep a variety of toothbrushes at hand and let them select the one they like the best. When you let your toddler pick his favorite items, like toothpaste or floss picks, he is likely to be more cooperative, resulting in less hassle for you.

The Tooth Fairy’s Message

The tooth fairy brings money to children in exchange for the teeth that they lose. Suppose your toddler declines to brush their teeth. Tape a letter from the tooth fairy to the bathroom mirror explaining that teeth that haven’t been thoroughly brushed will not earn money when they fall out. This might convince them to start brushing without a fuss.

Reward Your Toddler for Brushing

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of encouragement to get kids to clean their teeth. Make a basic progress chart and have your child put a sticker on it every time they clean their teeth. This visual tool engages them in the process and keeps them focused on the work at hand. You may also give little prizes to incentivize the process, such as an additional tale at night, the option to select the next family board game, or five minutes of extra screen time.

Summary and Final Verdict

In conclusion, the struggle involved with brushing teeth is a problem most parents face at one time or another. According to pediatric dentists, your child’s beautiful smile can only be maintained if his or her teeth are brushed regularly. 

Unconventional methods can be employed to make your child enjoy brushing his or her teeth. While it is totally normal for kids to hate the chore, it should not be left to them to decide whether or not to brush their teeth. Parents have to make all necessary efforts in order to make it happen.

When a toddler refuses to brush his teeth, allow him or her to pick the toothbrush, toothpaste flavor, and floss to use. Try anything that might help your child with open arms.

With time and energy, your child will grow out of the “no-toothbrushing” phase and accept it as a part of everyday routine. You just have to teach him the importance of dental hygiene and help him overcome the fear of brushing.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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