14 Fun Ways to Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth

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Are you looking for fun ways to brush your toddler’s teeth so that your nightly routine goes more quickly and smoothly?

Have you ever sat on the bathroom floor with your toddler, struggling to get them to open their mouth so that you can brush their teeth?

Have you ever wondered what it is about brushing teeth that makes kids resist it so much?

While I don’t have answers for you on WHY kids resist toothbrushing so much, I do have some ways to help make brushing your child’s teeth more FUN!

Fun, you ask?

That’s right, FUN!

With a little creativity and a dash of silliness, you can end the power struggle over tooth brushing and turn it into a fun connection time!

Why FUN is the Easiest Way to Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth

Over the past two years, I have discovered that my daughter is MUCH more willing to open her mouth for toothbrushing time if she is distracted!

But how can you distract your toddler when you have to hold them hostage and whisk a prickly stick around their mouth?

With pretend play, story telling, songs, and games!

I know that as parents, we don’t always have much energy left at the end of the night which may lead to a lower tolerance for fun and games.

But hear me out!

Wouldn’t that little extra effort be worth it if you could get your child to brush their teeth in 2 minutes instead of 20 minutes??

And by making toothbrushing fun, it becomes one more way for you to turn a task into connection time where you can deposit into your child’s quality time love tank!

What is a love tank?

I don’t have time to get into it now, but I highly recommend learning about your child’s 5 love languages and making a conscious effort to make deposits into each of the 5 love languages!

So let’s jump into the fun ways to brush your toddler’s teeth!

4 Fun Ways to Brush Your Toddler's Teeth

14 Fun Ways to Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth

From silly games to songs, use these 14 ideas to make tooth brushing time fun with your toddler!

The Goo Game

One of our family favorite toothbrushing games is to pretend our daughter’s teeth are covered in colorful goo.

It normally starts with “Oh my! Your teeth are colored in goo! This looks like a sticky job for mommy! What color of goo is all over your teeth?”

We ask our daughter what color it is because she normally likes to choose the color (which typically ends up being rainbow, pink, or blue).

Then we start brushing her teeth, making comments about the goo such as “Wow, this goo is everywhere!”

“How did this get everywhere?”

“What did you eat for lunch??”

“Oh good, I think I got the right side done, now to start on the left!”

“I think I finally see some white teeth through all of that blue goo!”

Make it silly and your child will find it fascinating to hear about the goo while you quick get their teeth brushed!

Chase the Germs

In this toothbrushing game, the goal is to catch “germs” that are running around inside your child’s mouth.

My daughter loves picking out germ names first; normally we pick two or three.

Make them as silly as you want!

We usually pick nonsensical names since my daughter finds them so funny.

Say we picked the names Boogley and Snoogley.

Hold up the toothbrush and say, “Boogley and Snoogley, I’m coming to get you!”

Then pretend to chase the germs around your child’s mouth.

You can say to your child that you see them running away or that you think you are getting close.

Chase them across the front of the top teeth and then say you saw them jump to the bottom and chase/brush the bottom teeth.

When you are nearing the end of brushing your child’s teeth, pretend to throw the germs onto their tongue.

Once you are done brushing your child’s teeth, either brush their tongue or have them spit the germs into the sink.

My daughter likes to end with a valiant “Until tomorrow germs!”

Let Your Child Brush Your Teeth

In a fun reversal of roles, ask your child if they would like to brush your teeth first before you brush their teeth.

As your child is brushing your teeth, this gives you an opportunity to point out important toothbrushing pointers.

Guide your child to make sure they get all the way to the very back teeth.

Help them keep track of which teeth have been brushed and which ones have not.

Remind your child to get the front and back side thoroughly.

During this activity, you are sending messages to your child about what they should keep track of when brushing their own teeth.

Once your child has brushed your teeth, then trade places and brush their teeth, using the same pointers for consistent messaging.

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

You Start, I Finish

Once your child shows interest in brushing their own teeth, let them brush their teeth first.

My daughter thought she was such a “big girl” brushing her own teeth.

I would sit with her and help point out places that could use more brushing such as “Don’t forget the very back” or “Did you get the top right side really good?”

Once she was done brushing her own teeth, I would either ask her if I could finish or to be silly, I would tell her that I saw something in her teeth still that I needed to get out.

She was normally pretty willing to open up and let me do a quick once over on all of her teeth while I explained what I saw or what I was brushing out of her teeth.

Normally, I would pick one of the foods we ate from dinner such as chicken or cheese.

So with a little teamwork, you and your child can both brush their teeth!

This results in your child practicing doing it themself while still allowing you to finish so you know their teeth actually got brushed!

Brush a Stuffed Animal’s Teeth

Another way to get into the toothbrushing spirit is to have a stuffed animal or two join the party.

Use a play toothbrush, a silicone banana teether, or even a Duplo as a toothbrush.

Have your child brush their stuffed animal’s teeth.

Again, point out the important parts of brushing teeth such as “Don’t forget to brush way in the back” or “Get the insides and the outsides.”

Once your child has brushed their stuffed animal’s teeth, ask your child if they want you or the stuffed animal to brush their teeth!

If they choose the stuffed animal, pretend to have the animal hold the toothbrush and talk to them while brushing their teeth.

brush a stuffed namial's teeth for a fun way to brush your toddler's teeth

How Many Fingers Game

One night, my daughter randomly made up this game, but it has stuck around as a good one!

I also like that this game involves counting, but that does mean your child has to be old enough to count to play.

In this game, your child hides their hands behind their back with some number of fingers sticking up.

Whoever is brushing the teeth has to guess how many fingers are in the air.

Since it is counterproductive to have your child talking while you are brushing their teeth, have your child sit quietly if you guess incorrectly.

When you guess the right number, your child should bring their hands around to the front and hold them up in the air!

We normally guess slowly and pause to see if our daughter shows us her fingers.

And if no fingers appear, then we know to keep guessing!

For an extra challenge, instead of saying a number, say a math equation instead!

So instead of saying, “Are you holding up 5 fingers?” you could ask “Are you holding up 2 plus 3 fingers?”

And if your child only knows how to count to five on their fingers, then just play with one hand!

Also, remember that guessing zero is a valid option!

Guess What I Ate Game

Once again, my daughter actually came up with this game!

I like this game because it’s a good way to teach your child about the characteristics of food and it also teaches them how to describe things with a variety of adjectives.

Who knew a toothbrushing game could not only get your toddler to brush their teeth without tears, but also be educational?!

That’s a win-win in my book!!

Start by having your child pick out a stuffed animal friend.

Using a silly voice, have the stuffed animal announce “Open up and let me guess what you ate today!”

As you start brushing your child’s teeth, think of one of the foods they ate that day.

Let’s say your child had a burger for dinner.

Then the stuffed animal would say something like, “Hmmm I’m smelling something savory…maybe something grilled…did you eat a burger today?”

Pause brushing so your child can either say yes or nod their head yes.

Or to keep an older toddler concentrating, make them guess what food the animal is describing.

To do this, give 2-3 adjectives about one of their foods and then ask them which food the stuffed animal was guessing.

Here’s an example of how you would do this:

Stuffed animal: “Hmmmm…I see something green in your teeth! It’s creamy and kind of mushy!”

Child: “I ate avocado for dinner, is that what you see?”

Stuffed animal: “Yes! That’s it! Now let’s brush that out of your teeth! You don’t want to sleep all night with avocado in your teeth!”

Repeat for as many foods as you need to in order to get all of their teeth brushed!

tooth brushing game for Fun Way to Brush Your Toddler's Teeth

Count Your Teeth

This game is as simple as it sounds.

Count each tooth as you brush it!

You can make it more entertaining by talking to each tooth as you brush it!

Try saying something like, “Hi front tooth! You are tooth number 5 in Erin’s mouth! You are probably tired after a long day of biting. Let me get you all brushed off for bed!”

Then move on to the next tooth.

“Oh hi there back right molar! You are Erin’s 19th tooth! Did you get to mash and grind up lots of yummy food today? Which one was your favorite?” *Pause for the tooth to respond* “Oh so you like the pear the best? I like pear too! Okay, now you are all clean for bed!”

The dialog and counting will keep your child occupied long enough to let you get in and brush those teeth!

For a fun variation, instead of numbering their teeth, let your child name each tooth and talk to the tooth as I described above.

Ask about how the tooth’s day was or what food it liked eating or didn’t like eating that day.

The sillier the better!

Ready, Set, Go! – A Racing Game

In this toothbrushing game, pretend there is a race going on in your child’s mouth.

Pick two or three contestant names of racers that will “run” a timed trial around your child’s mouth.

Have each contestant go individually and time them to see who wins.

This also gives you more passes around your child’s mouth to get all of their teeth.

You can have a contestant that goes really fast to be silly, another contestant that drags on and goes really slow (this contestant gives you a chance to get a good brushing in on those teeth), and if you have a third runner, pick a medium speed.

For extra additions to this game, have your child decide if the contestants are running, driving race cars, or riding horses, magic carpets, or maybe even dinosaurs!

Or maybe each contestant is a different animal such as a tiger, dog, and a turtle.

Customize the race for what sounds fun and exciting to your child so that they are interested in brushing their teeth!

mom and baby brushing their teeth at a sink
Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

Stop and Go (or Red Light/Green Light)

Does your child like playing the game red light, green light?

If you don’t know what this game is, it’s where kids try to be the first one across the room, but they can only run when the person in charge says green light.

If the person in charge says red light, then everyone has to freeze where they are.

You can easily turn this into a toothbrushing game!

Whenever it’s a green light, brush your child’s teeth as quick as you can.

When it’s a red light, you have to freeze!

Bonus points if you freeze with a silly face.

The person in charge of saying red light/green light can be you, your child, or a stuffed animal.

I do recommend changing the words to “stop” and “go” if your child wants to be in charge of choosing.

Since the words are shorter, it’s easier to say them with a toothbrush in their mouth.

Sing a Song

Sometimes you can capture a child’s attention with a silly song, so why not brush your child’s teeth to a toothbrushing song!

You could agree to brush your child’s teeth for the length of the song.

Or if it’s a short song, maybe repeat the song 2 or 3 times.

If you need some inspiration, try one of these tooth brushing songs I made up!

To the Tune of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’

Brush, brush, brush your teeth, brush them ’til they gleam.
Brush the top and bottom too
Brush them ’til they’re clean

To the Tune of ‘Baby Shark’

Brush your teeth do do do do do do
Brush your teeth do do do do do do
Brush your teeth do do do do do do
Brush your teeth!

Brush the top do do do do do do
Brush the top do do do do do do
Brush the top do do do do do do
Brush the top!

Brush the bottom do do do do do do
Brush the bottom do do do do do do
Brush the bottom do do do do do do
Now you’re done!

To the Tune of ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’

Now it’s time to brush your teeth, brush your teeth, brush your teeth, now it’s time to brush your teeth, brush them all.

Now it’s time to brush the back, brush the back, brush the back, now it’s time to brush the back, now the front.

Now it’s time to brush the front, brush the front, brush the front, now it’s time to brush the front, now you’re done!

To the Tune of ‘The Farmer in the Dell’

It’s time to brush your teeth, it’s time to brush your teeth, hi-ho, the germs all go, it’s time to brush your teeth.

It’s time to brush the top, it’s time to brush the top, hi-ho, the germs all go, it’s time to brush the top.

It’s time to brush the bottom, it’s time to brush the bottom, hi-ho, the germs all go, it’s time to brush the bottom.

To the Tune of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’

Now it’s time to brush your teeth, brush them so they’re squeaky clean. First the back, then the front. First the left, now the right. Now that we are almost done, it is time to go to bed.

tooth brushing song for a Fun Way to Brush Your Toddler's Teeth

Guess that Tune

Instead of singing a silly song, have your child listen to you hum a tune and they have to guess what you are humming!

My daughter especially loves this around Christmas because she is a big fan of ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman!’

To do this, pretend that the song can only be hummed when your child’s mouth is open.

Tell your child that you will start humming a song and once they recognize the song, they should raise their hand and you will stop brushing their teeth so that they can guess.

If they got it right, move on to a new song.

If they guess wrong, keep humming until they get it right.

This game does take a little longer to get their teeth brushed since you have to stop brushing for them to guess, but I have still found it to be very successful in helping my daughter keep her mouth open!

Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

Brush Their Teeth in the Dark

Does your child love flashlights like mine does?

If so, perhaps your child would find it fun to brush their teeth in the dark with a flashlight!

Have your child hold a flashlight up to their cheek so it makes their mouth glow while you brush their teeth.

You could also shine it into their mouth, but be careful not to shine it in their eyes.

Trust me, that doesn’t end well.

Another pro-tip is to leave the light on in whichever room is right outside the bathroom, whether it’s a hall light or a bedroom light, that way you can still see their teeth even if they don’t have the flashlight in the right position.

Read a Book (or Tell a Story)

Having your child follow along to a story is another great way to distract them while you are brushing their teeth!

Reading a book works best if you have an older child who can read or if another adult like your spouse or a grandparent is free to read the book.

And if there isn’t someone else available to read a book, just tell your child a story.

Sometimes my daughter likes me to tell the story of her day (aka replay all the things that happened that day).

She also enjoys hearing fun memories about herself or even the story of when she was born!

Now You Can Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth Without a Fight!

And those are all of my fun ideas to make the hassle of brushing your toddler’s teeth a little more fun!

Do you have any other fun ways to brush your toddler’s teeth?

If so, share in the comments below!

14 fun ways to brush your toddler's teeth (without a fight) pin

  1. Debbie Bozell
    Debbie Bozell
    January 21, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Great post…love all the toothbrushing songs!!

    • Monster Cookie
      Monster Cookie • Post Author •
      January 22, 2022 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Debbie!

  2. Tabatha
    January 21, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    These are so creative! As a momma of a certain little man that is not too fond of brushing teeth I will be sure to give some of these a try. Thank you for sharing!

    • Monster Cookie
      Monster Cookie • Post Author •
      January 22, 2022 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Tabatha! I hope these ideas help with your little man!!

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