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Making the Most of Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth

Parents of toddlers know that learning opportunities come in all shapes and sizes!

The perfect “teaching time” rarely involves your preschooler sitting quietly at the dinner table; rather, fun little lessons often occur smack in the middle of chaos and mess!

– A spilled glass of milk leads to a discussion on gravity. – Picking up a million little Cheerios can become a counting activity. – And of course, your smashed porcelain figurine becomes an instant jigsaw puzzle.

However, there is one particular moment in every parent’s day that you can count on to be the perfect, quiet (hopefully!) teaching moment.  When is that perfect little time?   While you’re brushing your little one’s teeth!

A good tooth brushing for a toddler (assuming that’s even humanly possible) should last from one to two minutes.  A lot can be accomplished in that amount of time!

Here are some ideas for fun things that you can teach your toddler while you (or they) are brushing their teeth:

1) Sing the ABC’s:  Singing the same song everyday will definitely improve your child’s ability to memorize it!  After a year of hearing the ABC’s every night, they should be letter experts! 

2) Count to Fifty:  This is the same concept as singing the ABC’s, only with counting.  Hearing their numbers over and over will only serve to help them learn to count! 

3) Sing the Months of the Year:  Sing the months to the tune of “10 Little Indians.” Teaching your child the months of the year can be a daunting task, and this is just one way to help! 

4) Work on Memorization:  Are you wanting your child to memorize something?  (Bible verses, Pledge of Allegiance, etc…)  Use tooth-brushing time to recite to them whatever it is that they are memorizing.

And for a fun reward at the end of brushing their teeth, let them brush yours!  Your toddler will love it, and it really can be funny!  (And it’s better than a candy reward, right?!?)

Utilizing your toddler’s tooth-brushing time serves a two-fold purpose: 1) You are guaranteeing the proper amount of time that their teeth are being brushed. 2) You are reinforcing anything that they are currently learning.  (letters, numbers, months, etc)

Still, quiet moments are rare and precious when it comes to your toddler.  Take advantage of every second; but most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy your child!

Photo Credit: Jean Pichot​

About the Author

  • Dr. Amy Morrison Anderson

    Dr. Amy Morrison Anderson

    Dr. Amy Morrison Anderson joined our practice in July 2005. She is a lifelong resident of Montgomery, and a graduate of Jefferson Davis High School, Auburn University, and the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Dentistry.

    She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Alabama Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry.

    Dr. Anderson most enjoys doing veneers. “The reward of seeing my patients’ self-confidence and self-esteem boosted by a beautiful smile is immeasurable.”

    Brandon, her husband, is also a graduate of Jefferson Davis High School and Auburn University. They have one daughter, Bailey Elizabeth, and twin sons, Caden and Cole.

Our Patients Know We Care

“I have always had very good service with Dr. Buettner and his staff. He is very knowledgeable and is always able to handle anything I might need in dental care. I am 76 years old and have had a lot of dental work done, and I appreciate the way he takes care of me.”
Donna Haynie