It takes many years before children develop the motor coordination they need for a proper tooth brushing. So until then, your child needs your help.

Start brushing your baby’s teeth by using a finger toothbrush or baby toothbrush.

Brushing is usually a fun experience. Your child, however, may go through a cranky phase regarding tooth brushing. If this happens, be casual and lighthearted about it all, brushing your own teeth with great gusto and delight. Let your child see how much fun he or she is missing.

For healthy teeth and gums, bedtime brushing is most important. During the day, offer your child plenty of plain water after meals.

Here are some ways to make brushing fun and easy for parents and kids:

1. Brush with your child — Stand side-by-side in front of the bathroom mirror and brush together. Have fun. Let your child mimic your brushing technique.

2. Cute toothbrushes — Great-looking children’s brushes are in stores everywhere. Choose one that’s small enough for your child to hold comfortably, with a small, rounded head and very soft, polished bristles. Every few months you should replace it — particularly for preschoolers who tend to chew while they brush. For babies, a soft finger toothbrush is easiest to use.

3. Tasty toothpaste — Safe and non-abrasive, Baby Orajel™ Tooth and Gum Cleanser and Orajel Toddler Training Toothpaste feature fun flavours that children love, making tooth and gum care easier and more enjoyable.

4. Count aloud as you brush — “Tooth number one is all clean! Tooth number two is all clean! Here comes tooth number three!” It’s entertaining for your child, plus a great way to practice counting.

5. Say ahhhhh! — Your child can’t say “ahhh” with his or her mouth closed. As you brush, suggest varying the pitch, tone, and rhythm of the “ahhh” to keep things interesting.

6. Bring a friend — At bedtime, invite your child’s favorite stuffed animal into the bathroom to watch the brushing.

7. Tell a toothy story — Kids love to hear their favorite stories again and again. Make up a special short story that you tell only during teeth-brushing time. Keep it simple and silly, like this one:

“Once there was a little girl (or boy) who had very, very dirty teeth! Oh no! said the little girl. What should I do? Boo hoo! Boo hoo! (At this point, your child can supply the sound effects.) Then all at once, a magic fairy appeared and said, I have a special treat for you! It’s a magic toothbrush! Hooray! said the little girl (boy). The magic toothbrush jumped up and brushed the dirty teeth just like this (you brush teeth,) until they were as shiny as the stars in the sky. This made the little girl (boy) smile the biggest smile in the whole wide world — just like this smile right now. (Your child smiles a big smile at the mirror.) The end.”

8. Make a sticker poster — Hang a piece of bright construction paper on the bathroom wall. Each time your child has a thorough brushing, he or she can choose a sticker or star and put it on the poster. You can also have your child color in Thomas, Percy, James and Gordon on our Thomas & Friends Brushing Chart”.

9. Sing a toothy song — Make up a silly song to sing every time you brush. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Try something like this, sung to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”:

“Now we’re gonna brush your teeth! E-i-e-i-oh!
And then they’re gonna be all clean. E-i-e-i-oh!
With a brush, brush here and a brush, brush there, Here a brush, there a brush,
everywhere a brush, brush, Now your teeth are nice and clean! E-i-e-i-oh!”

“Now it’s time to brush your teeth! E-i-e-i-oh!
Let’s go start right from the top. E-i-e-i-oh!
With a brush, brush here and a brush, brush there, Here a brush, there a brush,
everywhere a brush, brush, Now your teeth are nice and clean! E-i-e-i-oh!”

“Now it’s time to brush your teeth! E-i-e-i-oh!
Time to brush up from the bottom. E-i-e-i-oh!
With a brush, brush here and a brush, brush there,
Here a brush, there a brush, everywhere a brush, brush,
Now your teeth are nice and clean! E-i-e-i-oh!”

“Now it’s time to brush your teeth! E-i-e-i-oh!
It feels good to clean the back. E-i-e-i-oh!
With a brush, brush here and a brush, brush there, Here a brush, there a brush,
everywhere a brush, brush, Now your teeth are nice and clean! E-i-e-i-oh!”

“Now it’s time to brush your teeth! E-i-e-i-oh!
Clean the front so you can smile. E-i-e-i-oh!
With a brush, brush here and a brush, brush there,
Here a brush, there a brush, everywhere a brush, brush,
Now your teeth are nice and clean! E-i-e-i-oh!”