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Toddlers and Teeth: Tips for Making Brushing, Flossing and Rinsing Fun

By marylweimer |

Since my kids are ages 3, 5, and 9, there aren’t many activities they all enjoy doing together. They fight for the remote control and argue over games of Uno. There’s not a lot that’s age-appropriate for each member of my brood.

But one thing they do enjoy together is our nightly tooth care routine. After their baths or showers each night, my kids often gather in the same bathroom, toothbrushes in hand.

I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned that’ll make brushing, flossing, and rinsing a breeze.


  • Let your child select his or her own toothbrush. If they choose one with a favorite character, such as Dora or Mickey Mouse, talk about how it would brush his or her teeth, or sing the show’s theme song until brushing is complete.
  • Recognize the importance of toothpaste flavor. Remember that toddlers’ tastes are different than adults’— my 3 year old will only tolerate bubblegum flavored toothpaste and says that everything else is “too spicy.”


  • In our house, we use “flossers”— disposable plastic floss picks. My kids love being able to floss on their own.
  • Give the bacteria silly names and engage your child in a battle against plaque!


  • Play a game of “swish and spit” using Listerine Smart Rinse. With fun flavors like Phineas and Ferb Bubble Blast and Barbie Fab Bubble Gum, your kiddos will love it!
  • Get older siblings in on the game: have them help their brothers and sisters by showing them the ropes.My kids love this part of our nightly bedtime routine and I suspect it’s because we’ve kept the process fun. Do you have any tricks up your sleeve? What works in your family?

I received products from Johnson & Johnson as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® Kids Cavity-Free School Year Program. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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About marylweimer



Mary Lauren Weimer is a freelance writer and blogger. Her work has appeared in such places as Spirituality & Health and The Huffington Post, and she’s known for her thoughtful and introspective writing about all aspects of motherhood and the parent-child relationship.

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7 thoughts on “Toddlers and Teeth: Tips for Making Brushing, Flossing and Rinsing Fun

  1. laurenjimeson says:

    My daughter’s favorite thing is to pick out her toothbrush. It definitely helps with getting her to brush her teeth!

  2. daniellesmith says:

    So funny – my small people are exactly the same – the share a bathroom and get a kick out of being in there and brushing together. I know it won’t always be that way…. but for now, I’ll take it. And making this process fun in the mean time? This is good.

  3. Kelsey says:

    Isn’t it amazing how the simplest things can make brushing more fun!

  4. georgiapeach says:

    i agree that picking out a fun toothbrush really helps get my kids excited about brushing! I love that you have made the whole routine fun!

  5. Whit says:

    What I want to know is why they don’t make fun toothbrushes for adults! I have teeth. I like fun. What’s up?

  6. SunnyChanel says:

    Great tips! I’s so great to to get kid’s established in good habits in a fun way. It makes all the difference.

  7. Selena Mae says:

    That’s one adorable little boy. Yours? We have the same PJ’s and are trying tot adhere to a similar set of ideas and steps regarding oral care. Tricky business to keep it fun!

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