As kids reach their toddler years, they start to become more independent. They develop the skills to start to do some things for themselves and the will to take on some control over their lives. Some parents find that their children start to want to brush their own teeth at this age. What are the pros and cons of letting toddlers brush their own teeth and should you let your child take on daily brushing for themselves?

The Pros

It's no bad thing if your toddler decides to assert their independence and asks (or demands!) to start brushing their own teeth. At the very least, this tells you that your child is engaged and interested in the tooth brushing process. It is important for kids to learn how to maintain good standards of oral hygiene, and you may find that your child does better in the long term if they are allowed to brush as soon as they are keen to have a go themselves.

The Cons

While toddlers may think that they can brush their own teeth and may even be starting to develop the motor skills needed to brush correctly, kids at this age aren't able to brush their own teeth effectively. They won't have the motor skills or oral hygiene awareness to clean all their teeth correctly yet; they may also lack the attention span to brush their teeth for as long as they should. At this age, the best you can hope for is a quick brush around some teeth.

The Happy Medium

If your toddler is showing signs of interest in tooth brushing, you can encourage them to start having a go themselves if you wish. The best option here is probably to let your child brush their teeth first before taking over and finishing the job off for them. Alternatively, you can brush your child's teeth and then let them have a go if you find that easier.

Your child may not like this approach; however, it's important to assert your authority and make sure that a parent takes the primary responsibility for teeth cleaning. While having a quick brush themselves can help toddlers start to learn how to brush their teeth, kids may need parental help and supervision with tooth brushing until they are around 8 years old.

Keep in mind that some toddlers aren't the least bit interested in brushing their own teeth and prefer you to do the job for them. It's important not to force this task on young children and to wait until they are ready to have a go themselves.