Preschoolers and Dental Care

My preschooler would rather see her beloved stuffed animal collection thrown into white plastic bags and set out for the garbage man than brush her teeth. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) The point is that my darling daughter absolutely dreads having a toothbrush come into contact with her pearly whites. Correction: She has no problem placing a toothbrush into her mouth, provided it doesn’t contain toothpaste.

If you struggle getting your preschooler to brush, then we have something in common. So, what’s the solution? According to experts, we might be out of luck. Dentists claim that if you want to get your child to embrace brushing, then you have to start young—-very young.

When your child’s teeth first start to erupt, start wiping them down with a rubber finger brush. Experts recommend doing this at least everyday, and even better, after each feeding. This way it will become part of your little one’s routine.

When your child gets more teeth, generally around 4 to 6, you can graduate him to a small toothbrush. Dentists recommend allowing your child to play with the toothbrush before finishing the job yourself. For preschoolers who don’t want mom and dad’s help brushing, consider employing distractions. You can brush your child’s teeth while she watches TV or put on a favorite video, sit down on the floor and have your child sit on your lap. Dentists say there is no rule that says you have to brush your child’s teeth in the bathroom.

Great advice, but it doesn’t help me or the other parents out there who followed the aforementioned advice and still struggle to get their preschooler to brush without having nightly meltdowns.

What tricks do you use to get your child to brush without incident?

P.S. I’ve purchased toothpaste in every flavor available, and still, no luck.

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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.