Toddler Teeth: Tips for Teaching Your Toddler How to Use a Toothbrush

Toddlers grow and learn in leaps and bounds and it can be both exhilarating to watch and exhausting to try and keep up with. Many toddlers are trying to assert their independence, while still needing an adult to help them along the way. A common question about toddlerhood is whether or not your child is ready to brush their own teeth. Sometimes kids can’t wait to give it a try, while others dread this chore. It can be especially difficult to strike the balance between what is teaching them good technique or just bad habits.

Physical Development
By the age of two, your child has shown great progress in motor development. Fine motor skills such as holding a toothbrush are usually not completely established. Balancing this developmental process with the desire of your toddler to be independent can be a challenging task. While your toddler wants to brush their teeth on their own, they may not be physically ready yet. Check to see how they hold small objects and handle them before granting them control of their toothbrush.

Age-Appropriate Tools
The best way to teach your child how to correctly use a toothbrush is to first understand that smaller hands require smaller tools. Although potty training can often be done on a big toilet, tooth brushing should not be done with a big toothbrush. Buy a brush that fits easily in your toddler’s hands. It is also important to make sure the toothbrush fits comfortably in their mouth, with bristles that won’t hurt them.

Modeling
As with most parenting, modeling is your best bet when teaching your toddler to brush their own teeth. Before you ever let them take their toothbrush in hand, make sure you have spent time letting them watch you brush your teeth.  A Colorado Springs dental center says watching older siblings is also a great way to ease the transition to doing it themselves.

Distractions or Rewards
When modeling alone doesn’t work, there are other methods to try. You can let them listen to a favorite song or watch a favorite cartoon while brushing. This can help get the timing right for how long brushing should usually take. Another option is to let them know that they can do one of their favorites activities after the brushing is done. Many parents have had success allowing their children to brush their teeth in the bathtub as well.

If you are really struggling to get your toddler to cooperate, chat with your dentist about other developmentally appropriate ideas to get your child on board. Often, a visit to a dentist can inspire your child to brush more than parental encouragement alone. Dental care in Colorado Springs at Guerra dental usually includes family checkups which can be a great opportunity for this. While it can be frustrating if you feel like your child is battling you, remember that the rewards of establishing good brushing habits now will last a lifetime.

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