13 answers

Teeth Brushing for 2 Year Old

I've been trying to get my 2 year old to start learning to brush her teeth. The pediatrician says twice a day (once a day is a chore!!). I'm still using the flouride free toothpaste, but all she wants to do is eat it. I was told to try using a pea size of regular toothpaste to start training her, but I don't know where to start. Any advice?

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What works for me and my 3 year old is brushing her teeth while she lays down with her head in my lap and watches tv at the same time. This works. And I tell her before I do each part of her teeth what I'm about to brush so its not so invasive. The dentist recommended this technique and she prefers it.

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Hi K.,

Don't switch her to fluoride toothpaste. It is terribly dangerous if ingested. A "pea size" can cause terrible stomach perforations and a lot can be deadly. (Fluoride kills bacteria but for a person that brushes often, it can cause fluorosis that turns the teeth yellow. It will start eating the enamel away.)I don't even use it for myself or my kids. We switched from Crest to a natural Melaleuca oil toothpaste and my kids quit getting cavities!!!

Have you tried a battery operated toothbrush? Or one with music? Those can be fun for a two year old. My twelve year old still likes hers.



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Before my son started spitting , our dentist told us to start him on fluoride tooth paste a small amount once a day. The small amount will not hurt him its eating the whole tube that will.

I still don't come anywhere near my girls with fluoridated toothpaste because even little amounts swallowed are very toxic. For quite a while we didn't even use toothpaste. Our dentist said that the brushing was the important part and that the toothpaste was jut for flavoring or breath freshening. We would let them 'play' brush for a little bit, and then do it ourselves just to make sure we got all of the teeth done. Good luck!!

Pretty normal for a 2yo. They love eating the toothpaste. I would not switch to regular toothpaste. Just get another toothbrush and you try to brush her teeth if she won't let you hold hers. When it's out of her mouth, try brushing with the spare child's toothbrush. It's not going to be easy until you can communicate with her as to what you need to do. My 2yo's (actually none of my children) teeth are brushed twice a day. My 2yo goes and get her Dora toothbrush and Thomas toothpaste many times a day. I brush my teeth with her at times and I see her trying to mimick me. I think that is the best example right there. It may only be a stroke or two, but she's doing it. (It really helped for me to get that additional toothbrush though.)

This is a trick I used for my son and it worked like a charm. Before he can hold the toothbrush I get to "look at and brush over his teeth" and he has to brush his tongue. Then he gets to hold the toothbrush himself and he sucks the toothpaste off as well but it's minimal. I rotate between the floride and non-floride toothpaste. At night he usually gets the "better" brushing and in the morning when he wakes up it's not as vigorous. Hope this will work for you.

Brushing teeth is a hard habit to teach. Be sure you have the right sized toothbrush for his mouth - too large and he may gag - and the best toothbrush so far that works for my 5 year old is one that plays music while he is brushing his teeth. When the song is over, he knows he has brushed long enough, but he really loves this toothbrush - bought it at a dollar store - and he will wander around half the day brushing his teeth just to hear the song. With my daughter, now 10, she loved to watch the Bear in the Big Blue House video on brushing her teeth. She spent much more time singing the song than brushing. LOL Another something I found out from their pediatric dentist is that you should check behind their brushing efforts until they are at least TWELVE years old. !!!! Good luck! A.

I am a dental hygienist and it is still your responsibility to brush your baby's teeth. It is ok for her to practice, but you must do it for her at least until she is 7 or 8 years old.....and then after that age you should still inspect to make sure she removes all the plaque. It is ok for her to swallow the toothpaste, she won't learn to properly spit until she is older. My daughter is 2 as well and I use a children's form of fluoridated toothpaste......it will not turn her teeth yellow because that would be an awful lot of fluoride and there isn't that much in a pea sized amount!! Fluoride is added to our tap water as well and you can find it in some bottled water, but make sure you read on the label that the water contains fluoride. Fluoride helps with the remineralization of teeth...especially primary teeth which are prone to incipient caries. Your baby would have to swallow an entire tube of toothpaste to get sick and even if she did she would just vomit it right back up. But because you are the mommy you have to teach her good dental habits now. Plus if she is accustomed to you brushing her teeth regularly and properly, then her first dental visit will be a piece of cake. Baby teeth are important because they hold the space for the permanent teeth, so don't take those teeth for granted.

Im a mommy of a two year old as well with the same dilema. We have to literally chase her through the house and hold her down to brush those back teeth. I think that regular toothpaste burns her mouth and she tends to shy away from the task more often than when I bought the childrens toothpaste. She allows me to take turns with her to brush her teeth and we also have a step stool so she can stand in the bathroom mirror and stare at herself.Just left her first dentist appointment last month and believe it or not when she sat in the chair she was a totally different person. She opened wide and let the dentist brush as if she were a pro at it.

I let my daughter "brush" her own teeth for as long as she wants (within reason), then I "finish" brushing her teeth. Letting her do it and telling her what a big girl she is and what a great job she is doing helps. I try not to force or argue... one of the things I would do when she would say early on that she did not want to brush is- start talking about what books she wanted to read before bed. Then I would tell her that she had to brush her teeth or we could not read the books. I don't think of it as bribing, I feel I am teaching her consequences to her choices. It worked for me.

Also, my dentist explained to me that there is no CONCLUSIVE research that proves that adding floride to tooth paste helps prevent tooth decay. He did explain that floride is one of the few things that can cross the blood-brain barrier. It can celate (combine) with mercury, alluminum and other metals and bring them into the brain. He HIGHLY recommends no tooth paste for the whole family!

One additional thing, my daughter LOVES to imitate me (I think most all children do). So we always brush together!

Best of luck!
C. Hiebel

What worked for us was to pick a show our son liked (Diego) and pretend the bad guys (the Bobos) were on his teeth and he had to brush them off. Worked like a champ. We're starting this with our daughter now. She likes Lazytown, so we're chasing Robbie Rotten. Good luck!

What works for me and my 3 year old is brushing her teeth while she lays down with her head in my lap and watches tv at the same time. This works. And I tell her before I do each part of her teeth what I'm about to brush so its not so invasive. The dentist recommended this technique and she prefers it.

I will have my son brush his teeth in the morning with me and tell him to try and do it like me. He understands a LITTLE better how to brush (rather than just suck the toothpaste off) when he is watching me do it and copying me. Then at night I turn on a movie and I brush his teeth for him while he is distracted. This way he is still learning the concept and trying to do it himself, but he actually gets his teeth brushed sometime in the day.

What we found was effective is to have them learn how to put water in their mouths and spit first. Then when I'm brushing my daughters teeth, I have the cup full of water in the other hand. As soon as I brush one section of teeth I put the cup right in front of her mouth and when i pull the toothbrush out, I put the cup at her mouth and put the water in. I would say don't swallow right before I pulled the toothbrush out and then say spit spit spit when I would put the water in her mouth. My daughter thinks it fun so we end up brushing her teeth several times a day! Yes, I do use regular toothpaste but I waited until she learned the technique with the flouride free toothpaste. I the trick for us was to make sure there was enough flouride free toothpaste on there to make it bubble up so she could see it and watch it fall to the sink when she spat. Gross I know but it worked. We've been brushing for a while... she's two years old, will be three at the end of June. Good Luck!

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