21 Toddler Teeth Brushing Tips (Steps, Tricks, and Songs)

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Wondering if you’re brushing your toddler’s teeth correctly? Don’t worry! Here are the best steps, tips, and songs to help you!

I want you to imagine with me for a few minutes. You just finished eating dinner with your family.

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Dinner is cleaned up. The kids play together for a while.

Then it’s time to get ready for bed.

Jammies are put on, the kids go to the bathroom to brush their teeth. And then the tantrums begin. Am I right?!

Toddlers and teeth brushing don’t always mix easily. But there are things that can help!

When Do You Start Brushing Baby’s Gums?

The American Dental Association recommends cleaning your baby’s gums soon after birth.

Just wipe them gently with a warm washcloth to make sure there’s nothing around them. Plus, if they’re teething, use a cold damp cloth. It will soothe their mouth.

When Do You Brush Your Baby’s Teeth?

Your baby will get their first tooth between 6-10 months.

Once your baby’s first tooth comes in, you need to brush it with toothpaste. Plaque can start to build and cause tooth decay. And no one wants that!

They need their teeth brushed twice a day, just like we do. Yes, even their baby teeth need to be taken care of. This will make sure they have good oral health!

A mom is helping her baby brush his teeth with a toothbrush.

When Do You Start Going to the Dentist?

Start taking them around one years old. Just think, first birthday = first dentist appointment. It’s complimentary at most dentist offices, too!

Take them to a pediatric dentist. The pediatric dentist I take my children to has TV’s and headphones. The kids get to use these while they’re getting their teeth cleaned. My kids love that!

They also have a fish tank with tons of cool fish. Plus, he gives them a toy. I mean, who wouldn’t want love that?!

My children talk about going to the dentist all of the time. It’s just a few blocks away, and we pass it pretty much every day. They seriously ask me every time we pass it, when they get to go again. They love going to the dentist so much!

What Are the Steps for Brushing Teeth?

Steps for Brushing an Infant’s Teeth

  1. Get someone to help you brush your baby’s teeth.
  2. Sit facing each other with your knees touching.
  3. Lay the baby down so that the back of its head is resting on your lap and its legs are on the other adult’s lap (make sure the child is in a stable position and cannot fall).
  4. Gently lift the baby’s lips so that you can see all of its teeth.
  5. Brush the infant’s teeth.
  6. Have the other person try to comfort and distract the baby, as well as gently hold its hands to keep the baby from grabbing the toothbrush.

If a second adult is not able to help you brush your baby’s teeth, try putting your baby’s head in your lap. Use one hand to lift your child’s lips and the other to brush (make sure that your infant is in a stable position and won’t fall from your lap).

If your baby’s back molars have not come in yet, you can also try placing a finger between his or her back gums to help keep your little one’s mouth open for brushing.

Steps for Brushing A Child’s Teeth

  1. Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste- Make sure to buy a kids’ toothpaste that has fluoride in it. This will help stop cavities from forming in your child’s teeth.
  2. Talk to them about it- Tell them how and why we brush our teeth.
  3. Get the toothbrush ready- Get it out and put toothpaste on it.
  4. Brush– angle the toothbrush and move it in circles around their teeth and gently brush their gums.
  5. Spit– Make sure they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
  6. Praise, praise, praise!– Did I mention you should tell them they did a great job?! 😉
A pediatric dentist is demonstrating how to brush teeth properly.

Toddlers Teeth Brushing Tips

Here are a bunch of tips to help brushing teeth go as smoothly as possible!

  1. Use a small-headed, soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your child’s teeth
  2. No more than a grain-of-rice-sized amount of toothpaste for babies and toddlers under three years old
  3. Three and older can use a pea sized amount
  4. Place the brush at a 45-degree angle
  5. Gently brush in a circular motion for two minutes
  6. Brush your teeth at the same time
  7. If you can, use a fluoride toothpaste
  8. Let them pick their own toothbrush for toddlers who hates brushing their teeth
  9. Stick to a routine
  10. Try using warm water– the change can feel good in their mouth
  11. Use a sticker chart or something else that’s motivating
  12. Start young
  13. Try an electric toothbrush- your toddler might love this!
  14. Change the toothpaste flavor- this can make it fun and exciting!
  15. Use colorful materials to get their attention
  16. Keep sugar down, to avoid cavities
  17. Give them as much control as you can
  18. If your child has sensory issues, use a damp washcloth or your finger- starting with something familiar should help soothe them in an unfamiliar activity
  19. If they have sensory issues, don’t use minty toothpaste! That might bother them.
  20. Keep their toothbrush clean
  21. Use an app!– Download the Toothsavers Brushing game created by The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives. Your child can brush different characters teeth. Isn’t that amazing!
A toddler girl is brushing her teeth.

How Do You Make It Fun?

Need help making it fun? Here are some amazing tips that should help!

  • Take turns brushing your child’s teeth, so that your child feels more involved and independent.
  • Tell silly stories as you brush to make things fun.
  • Let your child pick a toothbrush that he or she loves – one in your child’s favorite color or with a picture of a favorite movie character on it – to make the routine more exciting.
  • Trying a fun flavor of toothpaste can help, too!
  • Pretend the toothbrush is a train and say “Chugga chugga choo choo” as you brush their teeth.
  • Have them chase the “sugar bugs” away! Tell them there’s sugar or sugar bugs in their teeth. Say “There’re some on your tongue! There’re some on your molars!” Have the kids brush there to get them off! My kids love this game.
  • Make it part of your routine so they’ll expect it.
  • Show them a fun video about brushing teeth. There are tons on YouTube!
  • Let them play with their favorite toy while you brush their teeth.
  • Brush a teddy bear or dolly’s teeth too! Don’t you think your child would love that?! I know mine would.
  • Brush their teeth in a different place in your house to switch things up!

Songs About Brushing Teeth

There are tons of songs you can sing while brushing your teeth! Here are some of our favorites:

  • “You are My Sunshine”
  • “Somewhere Under the Rainbow”
  • “You’ve Got a Friend”
  • “I Am a Child of God”

Here are songs about brushing your teeth:

  • “1234” – Feist (Sesame Street Version)
  • “This Is The Way We Brush Our Teeth” – Little Baby Bum
  • “We Gotta Be Clean” – Guster
  • “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, but instead sing “Brush, brush, brush your teeth, Brush them every day, Father, mother, sister, brother, Brush them every day!”
  • “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Randy Newman
  • “Kids Just Love to Brush” – Sesame Street
  • “Respect” – Aretha Franklin

You could also play some music while brushing. Just turn on a fun song that lasts about two minutes, brush their teeth, and it’s time to rinse!

A toddler boy is looking in the mirror while he brushes his teeth.

Toddlers Teeth Brushing Struggle

Does your toddler have tantrums while brushing teeth? Don’t worry, you’re not along. Many parents have a toddler teeth brushing struggle.

Most kids don’t like getting their teeth brushed because of one of four reasons.

Reasons Your Toddler Fights Brushing Their Teeth

First, it might be because they don’t have control. Try to give them as much control as you can, while still making sure the job is done. This is easier said than done, but remember, you don’t want to be brushing your 18-year-olds teeth forever!

Second, they might think brushing your teeth is boring, so try to make it fun! (I have a bunch of ideas above in this post)

Third, they could also be afraid that it might hurt. If this is happening with your child, I would have everyone else in your family brush their teeth and show your toddler that it doesn’t hurt. Tell them they’ll actually feel better having clean teeth!

Fourth, your child could also have sensory issues and brushing their teeth bothers them. If they do, talk to their doctor about ways to help them.

It might not just be your toddler who struggles with teeth brushing, but your baby might too.

Brushing Their Own Teeth

There’s no exact time children are allowed to brush their own teeth. Around 8 years old is a good time for most though. Until then, they should still be supervised.


When do you start brushing babies teeth with toothpaste?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing with toothpaste as soon as a baby gets their first tooth. This will help them have good dental health.

How do I get my 2 year old to brush his teeth?

If your 2 year old won’t let you brush their teeth, try to give them as much control as you can. Make it fun. Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste. Give them a small reward the first few times they brush their teeth. Give them lots of praise!

What happens if you don’t brush your toddler’s teeth?

If you don’t brush your toddler’s teeth, they will get a lot of plaque on their teeth and they’ll get cavities. They can also get tooth decay.

Do toddlers need to brush their teeth?

Yes they do!

Can You Use Baking Soda for Teeth Brushing?

Yes you can! I have a whole post about it here.

How do I get my 18 month old to brush his teeth?

Teach them a fun to sing or to listen to as they brush. Give them a small reward. Have them brush a stuffed animals teeth. Brush your teeth together.

Final Thoughts on Brushing Teeth:

I hope you like these tips for toddlers teeth brushing as much as I do! Let me know what you think in the comments.

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