Why does my toddler cry when I brush her teeth?

Many parents have been through the struggle of brushing their toddler’s teeth at one point. Your kid simply refutes opening their mouth. They may scream or kick or bite the toothbrush, making it impossible to brush their teeth.

Being a parent, most of us have gone through this situation and asked the question “why does my toddler cry when I brush her teeth?”

It is frustrating and annoying when you have to brush your toddler’s teeth against their will. Your little one gets angry and sad which makes you upset.

The most challenging part is that you have to do it twice every single day. This is not an easy task and there is no single reason behind your toddler crying when you brush their teeth.

However, you don’t have to worry as there are some ways you can use to make teeth brushing a pleasant and fun experience for you and your child instead of a bad experience with crying, struggle, and guilt. Let’s get started.

Why does my toddler cry when I brush her teeth?

The very obvious reason for kids to refuse to brush their teeth is that they are toddlers. Kids naturally want to keep moving and standing still for two minutes is hard for them. Children may refuse to brush their teeth because they are expressing a need for self-reliance and independence but they can’t clearly express what they want. Another reason for toddlers crying while brushing their teeth can be sensory issues. Some kids may not like the taste of the toothpaste you are using. So, consider changing the flavor. Older kids and some toddlers may cry while brushing their teeth because of how brushing their teeth feel. If your toddler is sensitive to sensation, he may feel pain, uncomfortable, or tickled feeling when brushing his teeth.

My toddler cries when I brush her teeth because it hurts

Some toddlers can be sensitive to the sensation of brushing their teeth and feel pain or uncomfortable. It is difficult for us to relate to as we do it every day and it’s not painful at all.

However, kids are new to this experience and don’t have long-term exposure to it. So, they are not desensitized to strong brushing. Moreover, this sensitivity is related to sensory issues in children.

It doesn’t mean that they require some medical assistance; it could only mean that they are feeling different sensations than many other kids.


My child hates brushing her teeth due to the taste

Your toddler may not like the taste of toothpaste and refuse to brush their teeth. It is suggested to ask them if they like to try another flavor.

You should also let them choose the toothpaste they think they would like. Even if the reason is not linked with the taste of toothpaste, letting them choose themselves gives them a sense of control which will make things easier.

Your toddler will be excited about new flavored toothpaste and hopefully, begin brushing their teeth happily.

Why toddlers don’t like brushing their teeth: Ask them

If you don’t know the reason why your toddlers don’t like to brush their teeth, it is a good idea to ask them why they don’t like brushing their teeth.

It is recommended to ask them away from tooth brushing time as their emotions would be normal at that time.

Their answer might surprise you but it can give you a lot of insight. When you figure out the reason why your kid doesn’t like to brush their teeth, you can improve it. It will take some time but they can become desensitized.

Get toddlers to brush their teeth

If your toddler screams every time you try to brush her teeth, just pretend that you didn’t notice and normally brush her teeth. Ultimately, she will know that screaming and crying don’t have the desired effect and will stop crying.

With time, when your kid will reach 5 or 6, she will learn to brush her teeth independently. She may not have the necessary fine motor skills to floss properly, you can check often to ensure that she is not missing any important area.

You can also try practicing teeth brushing on your kid’s favorite toy like a doll or stuffed animal and letting your child know the importance of brushing your teeth.

Explain why brushing teeth is important

Explaining why brushing your teeth is important may help in this regard. There are different methods to explain the significance of oral care.

You can go for kids-friendly YouTube videos explaining why people have to brush their teeth. Use age-appropriate language to tell the issues that may arise when you don’t brush your teeth.

Different fun and pleasant ways can be used to help your kid understand the importance of brushing their teeth. It may help them brush their teeth without screaming and crying.

Why does my toddler cry when I brush her teeth?

Brush teeth as a family

One of the best and easiest ways to get your young ones to agree to brush their teeth is by role modeling good dental hygiene. Kids mimic almost everything that adults do and learn best from role modeling.

It means that brushing your teeth as a family can help get your toddler to want to brush their teeth without refusing and screaming. Brushing teeth as a family will help your child learn the right way of brushing if they are trying to do it independently.


Why does my toddler cry when I brush her teeth? No matter the reason, you just have to do it as dental hygiene is very important for your child. I hope that the ideas we discussed in this article will work for you and your baby.

You should understand that brushing your kid’s teeth is not always an easy and quick process.

Everything with babies takes longer and you will have to be consistent as there is no choice if you want your toddlers to have healthy gums and teeth for life.

Leave a Comment