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Top Toddler Brushing Tips: Sparking Healthy Habits for Life

The foundation for a lifetime of oral health begins in the toddler years. Teaching proper brushing technique is a gradual process that should continue as children grow. But how do you get started? Here are the top brushing tips to help toddlers learn how to effectively brush their teeth.

Let Them Choose Their Own Toothbrush

The first step in teaching proper brushing technique with toddlers is getting them excited about brushing their teeth. Start by taking them to the store and letting them pick out their own toothbrush with a character or a color that they like. Make sure it is made for your child’s age (most have the age marked on the package). This can help get them on board with the concept of brushing their teeth.

Purchase Fluoride Toothpaste Made for Kids

An important part of brushing is the toothpaste. Children as young as one can use fluoride toothpaste that is made for children. Kids’ toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors, usually fruit or bubble gum. Use a very small amount until your child learns how to spit out the toothpaste.

Set a Timer for 2 Minutes

It is important for children to brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes. This can be a challenge for infants and toddlers, but starting the habit now will help them learn to spend enough time brushing in the future. Any type of timer will do, but there are online timers with music that can make it more fun and help the time seem to pass more quickly. Toddlers will still need help with brushing, so consider letting them brush for the first minute, then you brush for the second minute.

Try an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes can make brushing much easier for children. All they have to do is turn it on and move it across their teeth. The toothbrush does the rest. Electric toothbrushes apply even pressure across all of the teeth and have been proven more effective at removing plaque. They are often equipped with a built-in timer to help children brush for the recommended 2 minutes.

Read a Book About Teeth Brushing

There are many children’s books about brushing teeth. You can purchase them or find them at your local library. When you read about brushing with your child, they can learn the importance of brushing as well as proper technique.

Watch a Video Tutorial

There are many kid-friendly videos on YouTube or other sources that teach proper brushing techniques to children. Watch one together with your child, then immediately go and try out what you learned.

Model Proper Brushing Technique

Brush your teeth with your child to show them proper brushing technique. Let them watch you and they will want to do it just like you. If there are other adults or older children in their life that they look up to, ask those people to model proper brushing for your child.

Children Should Brush Their Teeth Twice a Day

It is common to focus on teeth brushing at bedtime, but children should actually brush their teeth twice a day. They should brush their teeth first thing in the morning or right after breakfast. Then they should brush their teeth before going to bed and avoid eating or drinking anything other than water after the final brushing session of the day.

The Importance of Pediatric Dental Care

In addition to brushing their teeth, toddlers also need professional dental care. Children need to start going to the dentist around their first birthday or within 6 months of their first tooth coming in. Regular teeth cleanings and oral evaluations should take place every 6 months going forward. The combination of proper brushing habits at home and professional dental care on a regular schedule is the winning formula for a lifetime of oral health.


Kids and Teens Dental Place provides comprehensive dental services for children of all ages in Houston and Pearland, Texas. To learn more, contact us today and schedule an appointment.