We all know kids are supposed to brush their teeth, but getting them to do it can be harder than forcing a wiggling toddler into footie pajamas. Here, five tried-and-true techniques from real moms for how to force, er, encourage your kid to practice proper dental hygiene.

RELATED: Help! My Kid Hates the Bath

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Sneak Attack

Sometimes the only way to win the battle is to surprise the enemy. Wait until your kiddo is completely involved in an activity she loves (Paw Patrol binge?) and sneak up behind her to try to get the job done before she can put up a fight. 

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Brush in the bathtub

If you find yourself chasing after your squirmy kid all over the house with a toothbrush in hand, try to level the playing field. Take advantage of your captive audience and brush in the tub. If he does pitch a fit and gets toothpaste all over the place? Hey, at least it’s easy to clean up.

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Make teeth brushing a family affair

Brushing teeth can be scary, frustrating and tedious…but if she’s in the phase where she wants to do everything you are doing, you might be able to coax her into brushing her teeth by doing it together. Show her you’re a brave, big girl and she will want to be one too.

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Let them “do it themselves”

All children really want is to be in charge (and adults too we guess?). Avoid the power struggle by letting them do it by themselves. Take your little guy to the store and have him pick out all the supplies himself to help get excited about this fun, new routine.

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Start early

Brushing your little one’s teeth isn’t just to set them on a course of good hygiene; it actually does prevent tooth decay, which is a surprisingly huge problem. The earlier you start, the fewer headaches you'll have later. Get them used to it before they learn the word “no.”

RELATED: 7 Easy (and Brain-Stimulating) Activities for Toddlers

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