Avoiding the Brushing Battle

brushMy daughter likes to fight.

And by fight I mean win.

The kid battles me at every turn:  bedtime, mealtime, chore time, and brush time.

The simple act of brushing a few baby teeth has been a struggle since my child was a toddler.  Unfortunately, she still hasn’t outgrown her displeasure with brushing and flossing, but there’s hope for all of you parents dealing with the tumultuous twos and threes right now.

To help your child embrace the hygienic task, which he will likely be doing daily for the rest of his life, consider the following:

Shopping Trip:  Toddlers love to shop, especially if they know they will be scoring something by the end of the trip.  Make shopping for dental tools fun by allowing your tot to select his own brush.  These days you can find a plethora of kid-friendly toothbrushes emblazoned with popular characters, from Snoopy, Dora and Winnie the Pooh to Disney Princesses, Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants.  The brush should feature soft bristles, a small head and a large handle.  As for toothpaste, dentists recommend toddlers use fluoride varieties, though you can have your child pick out his favorite flavor.  Many companies offer an array of different toothpaste flavors, such as bubble gum and berry.

Jam Session:  You can also make the act of brushing fun by playing some tunes while you clean your toddler’s teeth.  Experts recommend that parents brush their children’s teeth until they can rinse and spit without assistance.  Once you gently brush all of your toddler’s teeth and his gum line, hand over the brush and give him a chance to work on his technique.  The more practice he gets, the faster he will master the art of brushing.  What’s more, if you let him dance while he scrubs his pearly whites, he may be less resistant to the process.


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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.