Toddlers are notoriously resistant to having their teeth brushed, yet it's very important to maintain your child's oral hygiene from a young age. At the first appearance of your baby's teeth, you should be brushing them gently with a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger. By the time your child is a toddler, you should be using a child-sized toothbrush and flossing on a daily basis. If your toddler is resistant to toothbrushing time, these tips will help you motivate your child to sit still and cooperate.

Engage in Family Brushing

Show your toddler that everyone in the family brushes their teeth. Gather everyone in the family in the room for toothbrushing time, and encourage everyone to brush their teeth all at once. Have the other members of your family smile as they brush their teeth to show how much they enjoy the process. Make up contests for your children such as "who can make the most bubbles in 10 seconds," and "who can make their teeth the shiniest," then give small awards (like age-appropriate toys) to the winners. 

Read Books About Oral Hygiene

Buy a few books about how important it is to keep your teeth clean and healthy, and include those books in the usual mix of literature that gets read to your child. Choose books that have colorful illustrations and words that your child can easily understand, so the message can be conveyed in a way that is entertaining and relatable to your child. 

Play Brushing

From plastic food to stethoscopes, children love toys that mimic the real world. Buy your child a dentist play set so he or she can play dentist games. By incorporating toothbrushing and dental care into your child's play, you can develop positive associations with tooth care. Get involved in your child's games. Pretend to brush your child's teeth, then allow him or her to brush yours. 

Start Simple

As long as your child's dentist says it's alright, you can keep your toddler's toothbrushing sessions short and sweet. You can lengthen the toothbrushing sessions as your child adjusts to the process. If your child dislikes toothpaste, cut back on the amount of toothpaste you use (or eliminate it all together). You can reintroduce toothpaste to your toothbrushing routine when your child is feeling more cooperative. 

Give Your Child Choices

Let your child pick his or her type of toothpaste and toothbrush. Presenting your child with choices will make him or her feel more in control of the toothbrushing process, making it a more positive experience overall. 

Cultivate a Good Relationship Between Your Child and the Dentist

Your child's pediatric dentist can have an influence over the way your child feels about tooth care. By fostering a good relationship between your child and the pediatric dentist, you can encourage your child to cooperate during tooth brushing time. To form a good bond between your child and the dentist, bring your child to the dentist on a regular schedule, and pick a dentist that your child likes. Speak positively of the dentist when you talk to your child. 

To find out more about how you can help your child cooperate for toothbrushing time, speak with a pediatric dentist like Russell Pollina, DDS