9 Ways to Get Kids to Brush Their Teeth

how to get kids to brush their teeth

I think my son may have inherited the anti teeth-brushing gene from me. I hated brushing my teeth when I was a little girl, and now of course, my son hates it as well. I thought with time he’d get over his hate for the toothbrush, but we are many years into his life and he still gives me grieve twice a day. Even still, I manage to get those teeth clean and I’ve learned a few tricks to help me accomplish that.

Physical Force: 

I used brutal force to brush his teeth. I actually watched my sister employ this tactic with my nephew, and decided to employ it myself. You just physically force their head down to your thigh, but slightly upright so they don’t choke, and force their mouth open with your hand and the toothbrush.

As they get stronger, they will begin to kick excessively and flail their little arms. So now you must pin their bodies underneath your leg, so your hands are free to keep their heads still and mouth open.

Be careful with this, the idea is not to hurt him but just to keep them still enough to get the job done.


It may not seem so, but crying is actually helpful, so don’t be dissuaded by it. When they cry their mouth is open. All you need to do is stick that brush in their mouth and go to work.


I tried to explain to my son that he had lots of germs in his mouth and that’s why he needed to clean his teeth. That absolutely didn’t work, but my mother thought of something even better. She said, “Ewww, look at all those bugs on your teeth!” Now that seemed to get his attention. He had no understanding of germs, but knew a bug was a disgusting thing.

Kids’ Toothpaste:

Paste designed for kids is a lot sweeter, and less distasteful. Try to switch the paste to see if they are more receptive.

The Correct Toothbrush:

Make sure you are using the correct toothbrush for their mouth-size. Bigger brush heads can agitate the gums and hurt while brushing.

Babies under 1 should use a tooth and gum cleanser that fits over your finger:


Toddlers and small kids should use an extra-soft toothbrush. With a small head proportionate to their mouth and tooth size.


Electric Toothbrush:

Sometimes an electric toothbrush is more fun for kids.

Brush Your Teeth:

get toddlers to brush their teeth

Brush your teeth with your child, or let them brush your teeth. Making it a dual activity is sometimes more fun for them.


The reasoning worked for a while, until he didn’t care anymore. So I decided to count with him. Count to 10 and it will be over. So now that’s the tactic we use. He feels that he has some control over how long this painful activity lasts. It also keeps his mouth moving so I can get behind his teeth. Once we started this, he began to count to 10 too fast, so I bumped the number up to 30.


You can’t watch cartoons or play until you brush your teeth. If all else fails, this should work!

Good luck!!!! Got any other tips, leave them in the comments.

Brandy - The Mother

Hi, I am Brandy and I am "the mother." I enjoy being a mother, friend, and playmate to my son.

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