Baby, Mom, Motherhood, Parenting, Parenting

How To Brush Teeth Toddler?

Did you know you are supposed to be cleaning your child’s teeth daily? Did you know both babies and toddlers can have tooth decay including cavities? Many parents have so many questions when it comes to brushing their child’s teeth. I know I did when my child was a day old. I didn’t know if I should brush his gums or wait until he’s two. Lacking this knowledge could have ruined my son’s teeth. But, you do not need to worry because this post will give you all the knowledge you need to know to keep your child’s teeth healthy and growing. If you want to know how to brush teeth (toddler or infant), keep reading.

In this post, the following will be discussed. 

  • The Development of Teeth
  • Why should I brush my child’s teeth?
  • When to brush baby’s teeth?
  • How to brush teeth toddler?
  • Toddler Teeth Brushing Tips
  • When should my child see a dentist?
  • When can my child brush his/her own teeth?

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth, talk to your doctor. Also, this post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small comission at no additional cost to you. 

how to brush teeth toddler

The Development of Teeth

When you are 6 weeks pregnant, the basic material that teeth are made from begins to develop. When you are three months pregnant, the hard part that surrounds the tooth begins to develop. Once your child is born, your teeth are there but they are still found in the gums. At around 6 months to 12 months, your child’s first teeth begin to erupt from the gums. The first two teeth erupt  are the front teeth on the lower jar in the middle. Between 6 and 7 years old, your child will lose his/her first teeth and begin developing the permanent teeth.

Click here to see the toddler toothpaste I recommend.

Why should I brush my child’s teeth?

When you wipe your baby’s gums, it helps clean the area from bacteria. It also helps you and the baby get used to a daily dental routine. Also, when you wipe the gums, it helps relieve teething pain and helps teeth begin to erupt from the gums. For all of these reasons, it is very important to clean your children’s teeth. Also, once your child begins to eat actual food, food will start to buildup between the teeth and over the teeth. So, you need to make sure to remove it all before the bad bacteria begins to grow and  build up in the mouth which may even cause infections.

how to brush teeth toddler

When to brush baby’s teeth?

Click here to see the toothbrush I recommend. 

That is a really good question. You should begin wiping your baby’s gums from day one. But, it is okay to begin wiping the gums at three months old. This way you are preparing your baby and yourself to establish a good dental routine. Once your baby has her/his first tooth, you MUST begin brushing your child’s teeth twice a day. You may begin using an infant toothbrush with just water or you can use the infant edible toothpaste. Once your child has her/his first tooth, bacteria starts to build up around the tooth creating plaque which eventually leads to tooth decay and cavities. It is NOT OKAY to not brush your child’s teeth because they are giving you a hard time. You should explain to them that their teeth must be brushed and do it.

How to brush teeth toddler?

Before your child’s teeth erupt, you simply need to wet a cloth and gently wipe the child’s gums twice a day removing the bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

Once your child’s teeth begin to erupt, you should brush their teeth with a soft toothbrush and water or an infant toothpaste. Before your child turns three, you should also use a small amount of toothpaste (grain of rice size amount). After three years old, you can use a bit more (pea size amount). Brush your child’s teeth twice a day. You should brush them for two minutes and place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and move in a circular motion. Then let your child rinse his mouth and spit out. You can teach him to spit out by modeling how to do so.

What if my child refuses to let me brush his/her teeth?

Great question! Then, you should involve two adults. Lay your child down. His head should be on one adult’s lap and his legs should be another. The two adults should be facing each other sitting on the floor. One of the adults should open the child’s mouth and begin brushing his teeth in circular motion for two minuts. The other adult should hold the child’s hands and play with the child with the intention of distracting him. That is how to brush teeth (toddler or infant). If you are alone, you can place your child between your feet and place your legs gently over his arms. Open his mouth gently and brush. Sing to him; it will ease the process. You can also use this technique to give your child medicine or clean his nose.

how to brush teeth toddler

Toddler Teeth Brushing Tips

  • Give your toddler a toothbrush. You brush his teeth, and let him brush yours.
  • Sing a song to your toddler while brushing his teeth.
  • Try a flavored toothpaste.
  • Try a cool toothbrush, and you can let your child pick it out.
  • Let him brush his teeth first, and then brush his teeth.
  • Use warm water because sometimes your child simply has a problem with cold water.
  • Use an electric toothbrush. Kids love technology!
  • You can model brushing the teeth of a stuffed animal or a favorite toy.
  • Be consistent. Routine will help you out in the future. it might be hard a first, but then it gets easier.
  • You can use a mirror to help him see what they are doing.
  • The above method I mentioned for brushing the teeth of a refusing child should only be used when it is impossible for you to brush their teeth. It should be avoided as much as possible because to teach your child that brushing teeth is something good and positive.

When should my child see a dentist?

Your baby does not need to see a dentist when she/he has no teeth. But, once the teeth emerge, they must see the dentist by the age of one. After the age of one, they should visit the dentist every six months. Most parents take their children once a year, but that is not recommended. That is because dentists are the ones that are capable of detecting oral issues that can lead to serious problems. Checking every 6 months can help avoid cavities, tooth decay and oral infections. 

When can my child brush his/her own teeth?

You should not let your toddler brush his own teeth and not help him afterwards. They are not responsible enough to take care of their teeth. If you do allowed them, your child’s teeth will begin to decay. You should not trust children to brush their own teeth until they are responsible enough and capable which is most likely at the age of 6. Once they are 6 years old, your child should have already establish a good dental routine. 

For more information, watch this video “Tooth Brushing for children three and under – The knee-to-knee technique” (How To Brush Teeth Toddler)[05 min 31 sec]


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nicole @ Millenial Mom

These are some great tips for brushing your toddler’s teeth. Dental care is so important for kids! I love how you organized this step by step, these instructions are super easy to follow.

Basem Bisoomi
Basem Bisoomi
2 years ago

This is awesome! Thanks for this organized info. My 2.5 year old gives us a really hard time every night when we try to brush his teeth, sometimes he even has tantrum about it.
We try our best to make it fun and enjoyable, we even brush our own with him while singing, but he still doesn’t like it much. We even got one of those tasty toothpaste hoping he would like it, but it would rather try eating it that actually brushing his teeth.
The tips you listed make a lot of sense, we will try them out and let you know how it goes!
Thank you!