Getting kids fired up about brushing their teeth is all about the prep. Begin when they are infants by massaging their gums. Hype it up when you brush your own teeth. Let your toddler put your toothpaste on your toothbrush. “Ooh” and “aah” over how great it feels to have that fresh, minty feeling.
If your dentist is good with children (an important criterion), bring your child along. (If you will be writhing in pain or very nervous, get a sitter.)
Allow your child to pick the toothbrush and toothpaste. As always, the lure of child-focused marketing can sometimes work to your advantage—there are plenty of licensed character toothbrushes to choose from, and lots of candy-tasting toothpaste flavors.