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Parent Corner - Helping Your 2-5 Year Old Brush Their Teeth: A Parent’s Guide

Some tips that can help turn “the daily and nightly struggle” into fun parent and kid bonding time.


Looks familiar? We have all been there! The “NO, I don’t want to brush!”, the chase, the bribe, the hold him down and brush… Some days and nights are just so hard to brush your little one’s teeth.

As parents of toddlers and preschoolers, you face unique challenges in teaching your 2-5 year olds to brush their teeth. At this age, children are developing their independence but still need guidance in their daily routines, including dental care. Here’s how you can make tooth brushing a positive habit for your young child.

1. Start with the Basics: Introduce a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Demonstrate how to brush gently on all surfaces of the teeth.

2. Fun and Games: Make tooth brushing fun. Use toothbrushes with their favorite characters, flavored toothpaste for kids, and turn the brushing time into a playful song or story.

3. Be a Role Model: Kids this age love to copy what their parents do. Brush your teeth together and show them how it’s done. This not only teaches them the proper technique but also emphasizes the importance of daily brushing.

4. Educational Stories and Videos: Utilize children's books and videos about tooth brushing and oral health. These resources are designed to be engaging and informative for young minds.

5. Celebrate Brushing: Offer praise and encouragement every time your child brushes their teeth. A sticker chart can work wonders in keeping them motivated.

6. Let Them Choose: Allow your child to pick their toothbrush and toothpaste. This small decision can make them feel more in control and interested in brushing.

7. Gentle Guidance: At this age, your child will need help with brushing. Guide their hand gently and gradually teach them to brush on their own.

8. Simplify the 'Why': Explain in simple terms why brushing is important – “It keeps your teeth strong and shiny, and prevents 'sugar bugs' (cavities).”

9. Consistent Routine: Make tooth brushing a non-negotiable part of the morning and evening routine. Consistency helps establish it as a regular habit.

10. Dentist Visits: Schedule regular dental check-ups. Having them visit the dentist at least every 6 months, will help them desensitize the dental care environment and it will help building trust between your little one with the oral health care professionals and facilitate any treatment that may be necessary.

Remember, patience is key. Teaching your 2-5 year old to brush their teeth is a gradual process, but with these tips, it can be a fun and rewarding journey towards establishing lifelong healthy dental habits.

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