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How to Get 3-Year-Olds Excited About Brushing Their Teeth 

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Getting a child to brush their teeth can be pretty difficult. They tend to run, hide, and do anything they can to avoid it. Establishing a routine is the best way to get your child used to brushing their teeth, but even that can be somewhat difficult. Here is a list of 7 ideas to make teeth brushing fun for your child:

1. Model Behaviour 

Kids love to copy what their parents are doing. It makes them feel grown and helps to fuel their independence. A simple way to have them actually brush their own teeth is to have them do it at the same time you do. If you both stand in front of the mirror and brush your teeth simultaneously, they will be able to see how you do it and copy that movement. Modelling your actions will help your child better understand how to do them.

2. Choose a Special Toothbrush 

Having your three-year-old pick out their kid-friendly toothbrush is a great way to build interest in the whole tooth brushing process. Stores typically have plenty of options, like their favourite superhero or princess, or you can find a toothbrush that lights up when they use it. Making the brush something they like will help ease the process.

3. Sing a Song 

Adding a song to your morning and night brushing routine will help the time pass when your child is brushing. Here is a link to a song you can play on your phone to help encourage your child to brush their teeth. You can also sing a familiar song such as “If You’re Happy and You Know it” or “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to help distract them while they brush.

4. Incorporate Teeth Brushing into Playtime 

Buy an extra toothbrush and let your child use it as a toy. Ask them to brush their doll or teddy bear’s teeth. Having tooth brushing as a part of playtime helps to normalise it and shows your child that it is not as scary as it might seem.

5. Use a Timer 

Two minutes is the dentist’s recommended time for brushing your teeth. Two minutes can seem like a long time for young children, making it hard for them to get a thorough clean. Set a timer, so your child will know exactly how long they’ve been brushing and how much longer they have left. The timer will help them become more familiar with what two minutes feels like.

6. Create a Reward System 

Reward systems can be highly motivating for children. A chart where you can mark each time your child brushes their teeth for a full two minutes will help encourage them. At the end of the week, if they have all their marks, you can give them a treat, like an extra bedtime story or a treat after dinner.

7. Read Books to Help Teach About Oral Hygiene

Children’s books are an excellent tool for teaching the importance of oral hygiene in a fun way. You can find a storey-focused children’s book at a bookstore that normalises brushing your teeth. A book can also help your child learn about visiting the dentist and how to prevent cavities.

Additional Tips for Brushing Teeth With Children 

If your child is still struggling with brushing teeth, do not be afraid to make small changes to help their experience.

  • Try using warm water. Cold water can be a bit shocking to your child. Using lukewarm water could make all the difference in easing your child’s nerves when it comes to brushing.
  • Try out different types of toothbrushes. If your child has sensory issues, the feeling of bristles can be challenging. You can use a soft-bristled brush or start off by using a washcloth to help adjust to having something touching and cleaning their teeth.
  • Change the toothpaste flavour. You can buy a few travel-sized tubes of toothpaste to have your child test out and figure out which they like the best. Have your child try mint, fruity, or unflavored toothpaste.
  • Test out an electric toothbrush. Some kids do not like standard toothbrushes. The consistent motion of an electric brush can be calming for your child and does not require them to do as much work.
  • It is also essential to ensure your child is not using too much toothpaste, which could make brushing more difficult.


It is essential you teach your child how to brush their teeth to prevent cavities properly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of children aged 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one of their baby teeth. Teaching your children about the importance of oral health while they are still young will help prevent these cavities as they age. You should install a brushing routine that your child will continue for the rest of their life.

If you are looking for a daycare that will help teach your child about health routines in creative ways, contact  The Learning Experience (TLE) Centre to find a location near you. Learn more about The Learning Experience in East Finchley here!

The Learning Experience- East Finchley Day Nursery and Preschool
250 East End Rd
London N2 8AU

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