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Top 5 Questions About Toddlers

What can I do to get my toddler to brush their teeth?

Focus On Routine

As long as you let your toddler know that brushing is important for a healthy mouth and keeps the "owies" away, she will get the hang of it as she gets older. My daughter knows toothbrushing happens at the same time every day, so it's part of her morning and night routines. I used a banana-flavored gel to help make it enticing, and we change toothbrushes often to keep her interest. - Heather R.

Don't Worry About Technique

I allow my daughter to chew on her toothbrush while she watches me brush my teeth. She will mimic my actions; then, when she is done brushing her own teeth, I get to have a turn brushing them. - Stacey

Make It Fun

I now sing Hannah the ABC's while I brush her teeth and she actually opens her mouth and lets me brush with no problems. - Andrea U. 

The Expert Opinion

It's all about parent-child teamwork when it comes to the task of brushing teeth, according to Dr. Jaha Howard of A+ Pediatric Dentistry of Atlanta. "Over time, your child will understand that their participation in this team effort is important for a clean and healthy smile." Parents should take the lead in the effort - maintaining a morning and night brushing routine and making sure it's fun (songs, character brushes and fun flossers help). Is your little one still resistant to brushing? As a last resort, you can swaddle your child in a big towel and do it for him. "Remember to praise any good behavior along the way to build cooperation," says Dr. Howard.

Next: How to help your toddler master the potty


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