My toddler makes brushing his teeth impossible: Advice?

My son will be two in February, and he makes brushing his teeth impossible. Flailing and screaming, turning his head, clenching his teeth, and even throwing himself on the floor. I’ve tried having him brush with me and copy what I do, but he just imitates the motion without putting the brush in his mouth. I’ve even tried the finger toothbrushes; he now bites my finger and fusses with those now. I’m at a complete loss. TIA


My 2 year old is like this too. I distract her by asking her to point to her body parts while I’m brushing. But it sounds like an exorcism more often than not :woman_facepalming:t2:

Get a fun toothbrush

Change the flavor of toothpaste!!! Helped so much with mine

Do they still make the tooth brushes that sing? Maybe try that!

Are you using child tooth paste? Mine like the strawberry and watermelon flavour

I legit straddle my kid. Lol she is getting better at just letting me do it. It only took a few times of me forcing it on her. I always tell her she will thank me later. P.s. my dentist suggested this.

Such sweet little angels :innocent: lmao toddlers are like demons :smiling_imp: I love mine and they are so much fun but man I swear sometimes doing anything is a challenge I’ve got no advice on this. Just make sure you take them to the dentist for checkups there is even a coating (sealant) they can put on to help prevent cavities. Thats what I did for my nephew

My daughter loves blippi so I played her this song, lots!:rofl: she’s now 2.5 and enjoys brushing her teeth and actually finds it exciting. I got nice tasting toothpaste too and a fun toothbrush

1 Like

My son is 2, he loves brushing his teeth. He has a penguin toothbrush and kids toothpaste that he loves the taste of a little too much.
I let him brush his teeth while I brush mine and when I’m done he’ll normally let me help him.

I had the same problem. But I found a song on youtube called brushy brush. Its Elmo singing and now she lets me brush them. Maybe that might help.

“Alexa, play the brush your teeth song”


I have the same problem mines 14 months and has a proper screaming fit when im brushing his ill let him have the brush after but he just bites the toothbrush :see_no_evil: i have to wrap him in a towel to get them done properly :see_no_evil:

Try a baby sonic toothbrush. Amazon has lots! There’s some with lights and my son thinks that’s the coolest. He’ll literally take it from me to do it himself; and the best part is, it does most of the work! We also sing a “Brush Your Teeth” song! Find some online and either play it while brushing, or sing it yourself!

I got my son a step, and I make it fun when it comes time to brush his teeth. I tell him let’s go brush our teeth and then he’s running to the bathroom and steps on his step. I sing to him while he’s playing with the handles of the faucet.

Letting him pick out a favorite character toothbrush might help

Don’t make a huge deal abt it. At first it’s more abt developing the habit. just stay consistent, do daily with him and rather than brushing his teeth have him sit still in some way, maybe in your kitchen sink so you can bring the highchair over or if no obstacles bring highchair into bathroom.
When he’s still, simply say it’s time to brush teeth give to him the brush(with or without toothpaste, your choice at first) while your scrubbing yours see how he does with the brush by himself. Most likely he’ll just chew it, throw it, drum with it… Whatever he does, just keep calmly correcting it as you pay more of your attention to your own brushing. It’ll take awhile before he catches on. Don’t expect it in 1 day. How long depends on your little individual. Once he’s copying you start to really show him how to spit, try into a cup if he can’t reach sink bc of highchair. And I’d honestly not take the chair away until he’s got the routine of it down, but that’s up to you.

I have to use 2 toothbrushes with my youngest. One for her to brush with and one for me to use, then we take turns brushing her teeth. So much easier cuz my daughter never wanted to let go of her own toothbrush. Good luck momma!

Mine love the kids electric/ battery operated tooth brush.

I would always be super exciting and high five and when rinsing I would let him have fun with the water. I used to get mad when my 2 yo wouldn’t let me brush them. But now he wants to because I play with him and we get kind of messy with the water in a fun way. Qnd then high five and stuff.

1 Like

Try letting him pick out a electric toothbrush and flavored toothpaste

My two boys were the same when they were younger, Try to find ways to distract him while brushing his teeth. My boys managed to memorise the alphabet through brushing, I used it as a sort of timer so they knew once we were finished with our ABC’s brushing time was up. Favourite character tooth brush helps too, they much preferred the electric/battery ones.

Create a rewards system! You can use a sticker board and can earn at least 2 stickers each day for morning and night then at the end of the week let him pick out a small toy or special treat when the board is filled up.

You could also set a timer and start out at 10 seconds so there is a visual aide then gradually increase the timer to build tolerance as he gets more comfortable with it

I find with my wee ones a toothbrush that lights up and put on brush your teeth on YouTube. Works wonders with my ones. Good luck :crossed_fingers:t2:

Show him pictures of older people without teeth and with just a few rotten ones and see if he wants to look like that because he didn’t want to brush them lol

1 Like

My son was the same way (he hated the taste of any toothpaste and would literally vomit everytime I tried) and I eventually gave up trying… he eventually started to love brushing his teeth but it was too late. He just recently went to the dentist & man do I regret not forcing it sooner even if they kick & scream and have to be held down. My sons last dentist appointment was literally one of the worst days of my life.

1 Like

I play a game. I told him there are sugar bugs in his teeth and I need to brush them out. First, I yell at them “Get out you stinky sugar bugs!” but they won’t leave, so I have to brush them out. I really go over the top with my acting haha…”Oh no! The dreaded GREEN sugar bug! Let’s get him! scrubs top left Wait! I see the fearsome YELLOW sugar bug! Get out of there scrubs top right” and so on.


At my daughter’s first dentist appointment at 1, the dentist taught us how to do it by wrapping her legs around one parent’s stomach and resting her head on the other parent’s lap. One side pins her down and the other brushes.

Try different flavor toothpaste, get him/her a special toothbrush (fav character) and use a kids timer! (The one you flip over and you see the powder) make it fun as best you can!

Same happens to me some times with my three years old…I think just a lot of patience, wake up earlier so u have time to take ur time, my mom makes it seem so easy, she sits mine in the counter of the bathroom, talks to her softly, prepares the toothbrush, tells her if she wants to do it first and then she will help her a little, my little one takes it, starts brushing herself…the bottom teeth, and then gives it to my mom to finish it, she tells her that bugs will eat the teeth, that she can not see them but they are there, and also then smell her mouth and tells her how good that feels…I think that if u are in a hurry frustrated with time, they get stressed too, so from my experience, its just waking up earlier in case she doesn’t want to do it, I have time to talk with her…play with her and get to the point when she is not estressed anymore and lets me do it. Its a process and they are little, dont understand the importance of brushing their teeth, so telling them everyday why they must wash them every morning and night , many times its really important. When I force mine its worst, she is a strong little pumkin.

I put YouTube on my phone with the Elmo brush your teeth song. It shows little kids brushing their teeth and of course Elmo. When she saw the other kids brushing to the song, she wanted to as well!:+1:

Try having your lil one brush your teeth while you brush their’s… works for me when mine is being particularly fussy about it.

1 Like

I have to pin my daughter down. I know it sounds bad and all. But, it works. She’s 3

You could try a new toothbrush, new toothpaste, singing songs, pretend playing with him while you are brushing his teeth, different position, different location, different person helping him, etc. You wanna work towards cooperation at this point, not perfection. Do the routine with him daily and try things out. If its not working and he’s really upset about it, let it go as nonchalantly as possible and try again next time.

Singing a song, pretending to see animals or food in his teeth, good tasting toothpaste, having him brush my teeth or have an extra toothbrush for him to hold, and different positions helped me tremendously with kids I’ve worked with and my own son.

Wrap him like a burrito & lay him on his back with his head in your lap. Play with him while you’re brushing. That’s what a hygienist told me to do. Good luck. It’s hard.

My partner downloaded a app pokemon smile. It might add some fun to the experience it make its a little easier with my 3 year old.

Get him a musical tooth brush and see if that helps

What I did withy girls is tell him to open his mouth and you look and tell him he has alligators in his mouth and he needs to brush til they are gone,. :slightly_smiling_face:

My son is the same the only way I can do it is at night during his bath

Try a music toothbrush. It plays part of a song for a short amount of time the teeth need to be brushed for

I started using an app called “Wiggles Brush” with The Wiggles and some kids and a 2 minute timer. A bit annoying, yes, but it’s helped with my kids SO much.

Sing to him while doing it
Look up a teeth brushing song or make one up. My son will also be 2 in February and thinks it’s great when I sing while brushing his teeth ( he was acting similarly to what you described before i started it)

My youngest liked Daniel Tiger for toothbrushing and potty training.

Make a dentist appointment to see if its causing him pain. Maybe from a cavity or chipped tooth may be sensitive.

1 Like

Teeth brushing songs helped us a lot…just search you tube and you’ll find a lot of characters have their own like Mickey Mouse and Duggee. My wee girl loves the Blippi video. Also I normally let her start herself and I take over. Not going to lie its still hard going but I definitely get a lot more teeth brushed than before x

Mine does the same damn thing and I’m over it. Following

We sing…

This is way we brush our teeth. Up and down. Round and round. This is the way we brush our teeth, just before it’s (breakfast time, bedtime, etc, etc). Brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, brush.

To the tune of ‘Here we go round the Mulberry bush’.

We try to sing it slowly and twice - and up to three times which is rare if at all poss - to get it done.

We then ask them to try to do it themselves afterwards also.

This is what works for us!

My son used to watch blippis tooth brush song, now he brushes them himself no problem!

They make these sonic brush mouthpiece type ones. Maybe try these?

My son loves watching the Blippi brushing teeth video on YouTube and likes brushing his own teeth now.

Let him pick out his own toothbrush and toothpaste; tell him it’s for big boys.

Yup^ let him pick out the coolest nifty toothbrush and toothpaste…if he knows how to spit , mouth wash too… bubble gum flavor did it for my kid. Or stickers or a fruit snack as a reward… meeh :woman_shrugging:t2:whatever works…everyone is different

Mine used to fight me to brush his teeth. I got a kids electric tooth brush off amazon and he slowly got better. Also mine is SUPER picky about which tooth paste he will use. I have some Jurassic park tooth paste now and he refuses to use any other kind. Now he has gotten to where he reminds me that he needs to brush his teeth before bed. I had to just keep doing it and eventually he got on board.

Letting him pick his toothbrush character could help. Some kids really love the electric kinds. Makes them feel like a big kid and they have to do less “work”. Also bubble gum toothpaste and bubble gum ACT mouthwash for kids. My mom is a dental hygienist and when kids don’t like to brush their teeth she always recommends this and it really helps.

Man I did tough love. I said we can do this one of two ways, I’m going to sit on you and brush your teeth or you can brush your own teeth. And then I brush again.
“I’m your parent, it’s my job to keep you healthy.”
Consistency is key.


When you find the answer please let me know I have tried letting my 20mth old pick out her toothbrushes I have tried doing it with her even had her watch her sister still no luck! Tried rewards I am at a loss with you

Well my grandson use to not want ti do it so i learnt all the brushing teeth songs on his ipad n i made it fun wth lots of laughter now not a problem he is 2yrs 3mths

Try Letting him pick the tooth brush if you dont already and get a fruity toothpaste like Toms strawberry w/o fluoride.

Mine used to do this. He got over it :joy:

Whatever you do, dont give up or he never will!

Make it fun. Sing a song. And since he is two if you can get him to do it for 30 seconds to start with then work your way to more time.

Honestly my child sometimes does this and I let her do it herself first and then say mommy’s turn and do it. If she gives me a hard time I let her know I’m sorry you don’t like it but I have to do it to keep you healthy and hold her down if I have to. Being a parent isn’t easy, it means doing what’s best for your child even when they don’t like it.


I let my toddler brush my teeth then she will brush hers sometimes it gets crazy but it works

I’ve always let him do it himself before or after I do since we started and now he just enjoys it.

We used to fight … one day i took a box and started to clear her toys … I SAID BRUSH … “no” toy in box … I SAID BRUSH “no” ok … toy in the box … her scream was traumatic the most drama full tantrum… i fill that box until she brushed … the box worked great … it sat out for two weeks …

I always try to make it fun…my little guy loves elmo for example…we got him an Elmo tooth brush and told him he was going brush his teeth with Elmo. I sing a song while brushing and he thinks its great. He actually asks to brush his teeth now.

I put the “brush your teeth” song on for my 3 year old and we brush our teeth together. She use to not want to brush her teeth too but the dancing and singing made it fun. :woman_shrugging:t2:

Mine has a bath tub scooby doo she plays with and i give her her tooth brush while she takes a bath and she will brush his teeth and hers they may not be perfectly brushed but its not a fight and we have no cavities