Skip to Content

7 Tips to Get Toddlers to Brush Their Teeth

Do you have trouble getting your toddler to brush his teeth? My son loves to brush his teeth by himself. But, as you know, toddlers don’t exactly do  a stellar job on those hard-to-reach places in the mouth. My little guy focuses mostly on one side of his mouth and a little in the front.

How to Get Your Toddler to Brush Their Teeth

For a while, whenever it was time for me to help, we had a real struggle on our hands. He wanted to do it without any help, and I wanted to make sure his teeth were clean. Here are some of the tips and tricks we used to make the times I help him more tolerable for everyone.

1. Let your toddler brush your teeth.

One of the easiest ways to convince my toddler to let me help him was by offering to let him brush my teeth. He thought that it was a lot of fun to help Mommy. It also helped him realize that there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help, even when you’re a big boy.

2. Use a fun timer.

I’m not a big fan of Talking Tom or Talking Angela, but the Talking Ginger app  is actually really cute and age appropriate. It also has a toothbrush timer that my son LOVES to use. It only runs for 1 minute and 30 seconds, but we do this twice–once for the top and once for the bottom. Three minutes brushing your teeth may seem like a long time, but it goes by quickly when you’re brushing along with a cartoon cat!

We also like the Disney Magic Timer when it works properly. It even keeps track of stickers for good brushing habits.

3. Make a chart.

If your toddler is more hands-on, make a chart instead. Toddlers love putting stickers on things to track their accomplishments.

4. Soak the toothbrush a few minutes before brushing.

Our son does not like hard-bristled brushes–who does? When they’re new, you may need to soak toothbrushes for a few minutes prior to brushing in order to soften up the bristles. This will make brushing more comfortable and enjoyable.

5. Play or sing a short song.

Another trick to make the tooth-brushing time go by faster is playing a song. Our kiddo loves all the songs on this (affiliate link) Phineas and Ferb album, but any song about 2-3 minutes long will do.

7 Ways to Get Toddlers to Brush Their Teeth

6. Let your toddler use the mirror.

Have you ever met a toddler that didn’t like looking at himself? Our little guy loves to watch in the mirror as he brushes his teeth. He even enjoys it when I’m brushing them, too, because we make silly faces at each other.

7. Brush their teeth in the bathtub.

If you find that your kiddo is just too wiggly, wait until she’s in the bathtub where it’s more difficult to wiggle away. You can also keep a special toothbrush for bath time play. Let your toddler brush her toys’ teeth as you brush hers. Just be careful that the play toothbrush doesn’t make its way into her mouth!

What are some of your tricks for encouraging good tooth brushing habits?

Want more toddler tips?

Preparing Your Child for a Sleepover

Snacks for the car

5 Tips for Making Bath Time FUN for Toddlers

Felt Family Dentistry

Wednesday 16th of March 2016

Often, our toddlers are really a pain on the head if they don't brush their teeth. Worry less with these great tips of how you can manage to make your toddlers to brush their teeth. One thing is you'll have to brush your teeth with them. So that they'll keep it as a routine after eating. Always guide them on how they brush their teeth so that they will have a healthy teeth as they grow up.

Fabulously Fun Fridays (January 9th Edition)

Monday 2nd of February 2015

[…] Kahlua Salted Caramel Sauce {Little Blog on the Homestead} 2. 7 Tips to Get Toddlers to Brush Their Teeth {Wife. Mom. Geek.} 3. Small Talk Review and Giveaway  {Mom Among […]


Sunday 4th of January 2015

Great ideas! We use the Nurdle app, which is a teeth brushing song with graphics. Each time you brush your teeth, you earn stars and then you can buy things in the virtual shop, so my boys want to get as many stars as possible!

Melissa Matters

Monday 29th of December 2014

Great tips! I struggled with my toddler for awhile. I did the music with him and that worked sometimes. He does best with the "Do you want me to brush your teeth or can you show me how?"I will keep your tips in mind.


Sunday 28th of December 2014

These are great tips! Wish I'd had them 9 years ago with our first! ;)