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Tooth Brushing Temper Tantrums: Advice from Our Dunn Pediatric Dentist

Tooth brushing isn’t painful or difficult, but even so, many children are opposed to it—sometimes vocally. If your toddler throws a temper tantrum every time you brush their teeth, here are some ways you can help make brushing time easier for both of you.

Stay Calm

When a child has a temper tantrum, it can be all-too-easy for a parent to feel frustrated and angry as well. However, yelling and shouting will only escalate the situation, and may even cause your child to double down on their fear or dislike of tooth brushing. After all, now it’s an activity that is not only (to them) unpleasant; they also are yelled at, too! As tough as it may be, try to stay as calm as you can, and try the next few tips.

Provide a Distraction

One way to help ease toddler temper tantrums is to provide them with a distraction. If you typically brush your child’s teeth in a quiet, calm room, then they have little to focus on other than the fact that they are having their teeth brushed and that they dislike it. To distract them while you brush their teeth, you might play their favorite cartoon on a strategically-placed computer tablet in the bathroom, or bring one of their favorite toys to “encourage” them. You can also distract your child by making funny faces in the mirror, or by singing fun songs as you brush.

Try Fun Toothbrushes

If you can make brushing time feel a little bit like Christmas morning, it might help alleviate some of the negative emotions your child feels towards it. This doesn’t mean buying a new toothbrush every single day—since toddlers have such short-term memories, a brush that has been put away for a while is still as exciting as a brand new one. Try rotating several different brushes, or provide your child with several toothbrushes to choose from and then brush their teeth with the one they choose. You might also consider an electric toothbrush, which some toddlers simply find more fun to use.

Try Flavored Toothpastes

Chocolate, marshmallow, blue raspberry, orange and banana are all some toothpaste flavor options available on today’s market. The only issue with these is that, since they are designed for very young children, they do not have fluoride, as fluoride can cause stomach issues when ingested. However, if your toddler is just learning to brush, the benefits of sparking enthusiasm in toothbrushing outweigh the drawbacks of using non-fluorided toothpaste. Your Dunn pediatric dentist can apply fluoride gel at your next appointment to make up for it.

Reward Your Child After Brushing

Many parents make the mistake of not rewarding their child for brushing their teeth if he or she throws a temper tantrum. However, you should always reward your child after you brush their teeth, especially if they protest teeth-brushing time. A reward will help your child think of the entire experience in a more positive way, and approach it more willingly the next time. The reward doesn’t need to be a toy or piece of candy (which would be counterintuitive). Giving them uninterrupted positive attention, or applying a fun sticker to a reward chart, can go a long way.

Take Care of Your Kids’ Teeth with Our Dunn Children’s Dentist!

We hope that these tips help make tooth brushing a more positive experience for both you and your child. If you need a pediatric dentist in Dunn, stop by our office for exceptional care designed just for kids! We consider parents and guardians to be a part of our team, and we welcome them to be with their child throughout the entire dental appointment. To schedule your next visit, please fill out our contact form here.