Brushing your teeth with the toddler – (k) a drama

Small children usually don’t feel like brushing their teeth. Our girl, for example, initially turned her head away, does not open her mouth or sometimes said "No!" My dentist is for the hard way: off to the headlock and let it scream. His mouth is much easier to brush with his mouth wide open, he says. Well, dental care is important, of course, but I don’t want to spoil our daughter’s fun with it for the rest of life as a toddler. If I keep forcing my child to do it, how should they ever brush their teeth? I am (as always) for gentle methods.

Proper dental care

How often to clean?

How long?

As a rule of thumb: approx. 10 seconds per tooth.

What toothbrush?

There are finger toothbrushes for the very first bites that do not hurt the sensitive mouth. There are also special children’s toothbrushes with a small head and soft bristles.

With toothpaste?

Toothpastes should be used from the breakthrough of the first milk tooth. (see also "Please take care! From the first tooth").

Up to the age of 2: only brush with water after breakfast, with fluoride-containing toothpaste before going to bed (use fluoride-free toothpaste without fluoride).

From the age of 2: 2 times a day with toothpaste

How much toothpaste?

Our girl sometimes sucked the toothpaste off the brush before she even touched the teeth. For the little ones, it is enough to slide the toothbrush over the opening of the tube, according to my dentist. Then the amount that can be swallowed is not so large. For larger children, a pea-sized portion is just right.

Tips for conflict-free brushing

Cleaning together

Our girl always wants to do what I do. I take advantage of such unpleasant things like getting dressed or brushing my teeth. When I start putting on my jacket or brushing my teeth with great joy, she usually wants to join in.

Same toothbrush

Our girl always squinted enviously at my electric toothbrush when we were standing together at the sink. I quickly bought a normal toothbrush and alternately scrubbed my teeth and their teeth (mine with my Brush and their with their).

By the way, electric toothbrushes are also suitable for children under three years of age. Prerequisite: brushing your teeth is supervised.

Brush each other’s teeth

Princess brushing teeth – an effective motivator!

That is the absolute hit with us. While I brush her teeth, she can scrub mine. If I bite on the toothbrush or make faces, it laughs broken and I can brush it with ease.


Our girl was given hand puppets for Christmas that she loves above all else. If there is a brushing strike, the princess can quickly resolve it by asking our girl to brush her teeth. She obeys her, for the princess she would do anything.

To sing

I haven’t tried that myself, but I’ve often read it as a suggestion. At, for example, there are numerous dental rhymes that can be sung to well-known melodies – there is something for every (music) taste.


Changing diapers, brushing teeth, putting the beloved teddy in bed with a good night kiss and marching into the bedroom – this is what our evening program looks like. Regular rituals make everyday life easier, so brushing your teeth is often no longer called into question.


I found a great article on on the subject of “Brushing teeth in toddlers easily” and would like to quote a comment:

“Parents often place a lot more value on the physical than on the mental health of her child. When it comes to brushing your teeth, this means that parents only see the (potential) negative effects of brushing their teeth, but not the negative effects of "just holding on and doing". How blatant and traumatic must it be to be pressed down and held twice a day to brush your teeth? Her mouth pressed open by force and a thing stuck in to get?" (from Bettinazweinull)


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Christina Cherry
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