How to End Toddler Brushing Teeth Struggle 5 Amazing Ways

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Brushing a baby or toddler’s teeth can be a huge struggle. Learning creative tricks to brush their teeth in fun ways can help end the toddler brushing teeth struggle entirely, well almost.

The Reality of the Toddler Teeth Brushing Struggle

brush toddlers teeth

Brushing a small kids’ teeth can be an epic battle every day. It seems that most children love to completely avoid anything that involves them getting cleaned up in the morning and att night. Bath time, hair brushing, and teeth brushing can bring a time of dread for mom and children alike.

It’s draining.

Brushing your teeth is important to oral, gum, and overall health. But how do you share that with knowledge with a baby or toddler and make them care?

Short story, you really can’t. But you can find creative ways to make teeth brushing more fun.

My Toddler Teeth Brushing Struggle Story

My first child hated brushing her teeth. I mean hated with a fiery passion. Every single morning and night was a screaming fit of flailing and fighting and restraint. She didn’t get any teeth until after she turned one. So she went an entire year without really having to brush, the transition into teeth brushing went horrendous to say the least.

Brushing my baby’s teeth was a huge struggle from day 1.

  • As was brushing her hair
  • as was bath time
  • basically anything involving me touching her head was absolutely off-limits in her mind
  • anything involving clening herself up was like pulling teeth

And she is a stubborn fighter, but I am even more stubborn.

I was desperate. I was determined to brush my toddlers’ teeth regularly because I know the importance of good oral hygiene. Hair brushing I would let slide a few days, and just bundle the mats on a bun on top her head. It wasn’t worth the daily battle and tears and wasn’t going to victimize her health in any way.

But brushing my baby’s teeth regularly was nonnegotiable to me.

So I learned to be really creative every night to get those sweet little baby teeth cleaned. My creativity continued to grow as my toddler did and we were able to at least mostly eliminate the teeth brushing struggle with games and by giving her some power over the situation.

Are you having a toddler power struggle with teeth brushing?

I want to offer as many creative ideas that I can here to help every mom in my previous position. Actually, it’s still my position because though my current toddler is usually pretty good with brushing her teeth, there are still many days when I have to pull out my old teeth brushing games and tricks to keep her appeased.

These tricks might work amazing for a week and then not work at all. Or you might have to try something new every day. Maybe after one amazing month of brushing, tooth brushing will once again become a struggle.

Toddlers are unpredictable. That’s just how they are wired. By having an entire arsenal of teeth brushing tricks you will be able to switch between them as needed and have the best chance for lots of night of brushing teeth with no tears.


5 Amazing Ways to End the Toddler Teeth Brushing Struggle

1. Have multiple tooth brushes to choose from.

We always have a variety of different toothbrushes on hand for our toddlers to choose from.

  1. For special occasions (and by special I mean that teeth brushing has gotten absoltely unbearable and I’m happy to fork over just a couple extra dollars for a fancier toothbrush to solve the fight for a month) we pick up Singing Toothbrushes
  2. Another fun option we always keep on hand are fun vibrating toothbrushes. They come in fun characters like Dory and switch up the monotony of scrubbing those pearly baby whites.
  3. Usually our surplus of toddler toothbrushes are just really cute animals or smiles or something. Raid your local Dollar Tree and let your toddler pick their favorites!

By having some power by being able to pick their own toothbrush each night, your toddler may be more apt to cooperate.


2. Have multiple tooth pastes to choose from.

Sometimes having a paste with their favorite character on it actually helps. I like having at least 3 flavor choices on hand!

  1. Sparkly Kids Crest Toothpaste
  2. Tom’s of Maine Natural Fluoride Free Strawberry Toothpaste
  3.  And also baking soda I always have on hand as options. Baking soda is actually amazing for cleaning teeth and the best at whitening them! All my kids love the flavor some nights, so I keep a jar of it in the bathroom as another option.)

By being able to choose their own flavor of paste each night you are once again switching the power into your toddler’s hands, which can help tame the tooth brushing tantrums.

RELATED: 11 Proven Ways to FINALLY Help Your Toddler Sleep


3. Dye the toothpaste.

We always keep food coloring in the bathroom.  It’s great for teeth brushing, and bath paints! (We adore bath paints as well and they are a great way to end any bathtime battles! As I mentioned before, we are used to every single self care daily cleaning being an epic battle. So my creativeity has had to soar out of necessity in those parts of life!)

  1. Drop a single drop of food coloring onto the wettened toothbrush and place the toothpaste on top.
  2. Immediately begin brushing to avoid dripping bright colors down your hands.

This trick is loved from young toddlers to school-aged kids! It’s a little messy so be sure their spit lands in the sink. But the fun of spitting colors is absolutely enticing to toddlers.

Plus using food coloring on their teeth guarentees a really good clean because you have to brush a little extra to get that color out. Allow them to spit until it is no longer colored. Another mom bonus to this game is that if they miss any plaque, the food coloring sticks to it. Even a toddler can easily look in the mirror and see what places they missed!

brush toddlers teeth

4. Spitting Target Practice.

Out of creative desperation of a mother exhausted from fighting her toddler every morning and night, this game was born. Place multiple bowls in the bathtub. Allow your child to brush really well to work up a lot of bubbles, and then “target practice” into the bowls with their spit.

I never even had to offer prizes for this game to be a winner. The thrill of being able to make mess spitting all over the tub was a prize in and of itself. At the end of your toddlers’ spitting contest, simply rinse all the gross mess down with the shower!

brush toddlers teeth

5. Plane, Train, or Automobile

If your toddler is into cars, trains, or planes this is a perfect game to help you brush their teeth! Their mouth becomes the garage, the hanger, or the station respectively and the toothbrush becomes your vehicle of choice.

Playfully drive or fly your vehicle around and urge your toddler to allow it to land or park where it needs to!

“Open up train station, it’s time to let off the passengers!”


6. Brush along to songs.

You tube is amazing. There are lots of great songs about brushing your teeth and getting cleaned up that can make it fun and give you a great gauge of how long you’ve been brushing. Our go to song is Brush Your Teeth by Super Simple Songs.

We all have our phones on us at all times. Just look up the song and let your toddler bursh along!


7. The Animal Hunt Game

This game I actually found that another brilliant mom made up! Julie from Jules and Co. created a really creative game that helps us brush our toddler’s teeth at my home all the time without tears!

We love playing the animal hunt game with barnyard animals best.


You’re All Set for an Awesome Teeth Brushing Experience!

Try each of these tricks and games to end the teeth brushing tantrums and tears for good! In reality, with a toddler there’s a good chance that the tears and tantrums may resurface after some time. It might be a day, it might be a month.

That’s why I built an extensive list that was clever enough to get me through brushing the teeth of a baby that hated it like the plague from day 1, until she was old enough to brush herself. (She’s 8 now.) With very minimal fight once we began utilizing all these games and tips.


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