Instilling good oral hygiene habits in children is one of the most important things any parent can do. Teaching children to brush properly early in life sets them up for a lifetime of healthy teeth, however the prospect of walking down the toothbrush aisle can strike fear into the hearts of grown men. You are bombarded with toothbrushes of different sizes, shapes, colors, superheroes, princesses, and cartoon characters. How can you choose the right toothbrush for your little one when you must consider their age, their needs, their brushing ability, their favorite color, all of which are changing as they grow and develop? Using this guide can help!
Choosing the right toothbrush
Is it the right size?
Typically, this is not a factor when buying an adult toothbrush, but it is extremely important when choosing one for a child. This is because their mouths are so tiny that the toothbrush head needs to be small enough to reach all the areas of their mouth so that they can be properly cleaned, even the hard-to-reach ones. The toothbrush should be able to fit properly between the cheek and molars and properly cover the surface of each tooth.
Luckily, most toothbrush manufacturers put an age range on the front of the brush to offer some guidance.
What is the shape of the handle?
Choose a handle for your child that they can comfortably grasp for a few minutes in their hands that will allow them to brush properly. Pro rubber grip also makes the brush easier for them to hold.
How soft are the bristles?
Since children are still developing their dexterity and learning to brush, they aren’t always the gentlest brushers. Choosing a brush with soft, rounded bristles ensures that they can clean their teeth without damaging their gums.
When will I need to buy a new one?
Toothbrushes generally need to be changed after 3 months because bristles tend to become worn after this time and do not properly clean teeth. Having a cold or flu may necessitate changing their toothbrush earlier to avoid spreading bacteria and potentially prolonging sickness.
The right brush for every age and every stage
As your child grows, their oral hygiene requirements will also change. By looking at the guide below, you will know what that to look for so that walking down the toothbrush aisle will be a breeze.
0-3 Years Old: Finger Slip or Infant toothbrush
For babies, one option that comes highly recommended is the finger slip toothbrush. Made from textured silicone and worn on the index finger, it is an easy way to clean your child’s gums after feeding. The Brushies brand has a set of four colorful finger brushes made from food-grade, dishwasher-safe silicone along with a book to teach kids about “sugar bugs.” Alternatively, a damp washcloth can be used.
When their first tooth erupts, a toothbrush with a tiny head and a rice-sized amount of toothpaste should be used to brush twice daily.
3-5 Years Old: A toothbrush fit for a Kid!
You can hardly believe that they are growing up so fast (hold back the tears). These brushes are smaller, soft-bristled versions of an adult toothbrush that can fit snugly in their hands. Colgate and Oral-B are just 2 brands that offer a range of brightly colored, kid-friendly brushes with many different characters to be used with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
It is strongly advised that children be fully supervised with brushing until they are old enough to tie their shoelaces by themselves, usually at around age 7 or 8, to ensure proper brushing.
6-9 Years Old: A Kid-Sized or Electric Toothbrush
Once children have gotten the proper brushing technique down pat, they can be introduced to an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes come with many added features to make kids even more exciting about brushing. For example, the Philips Sonicare for Kids Electric Toothbrush has a built-in two-minute timer with musical alerts that tell kids when to move to a different area of the mouth. It is also paired with a smartphone app that teaches proper brushing techniques, allows parents to monitor their brushing, and rewards progress.
10 Years and Older: Adult Toothbrush
By the age of 10, your child’s mouth should be big enough to accommodate an adult toothbrush comfortably. Electric toothbrushes are also another good option for this age group. It is also important that in addition to brushing with fluoride toothpaste, your child is also flossing and using mouthwash to bolster their oral hygiene routine.
Remember, buying the right toothbrush for your kids is more than ensuring that they have healthy teeth and gums, it is about developing good oral hygiene habits for a lifetime. By using these guidelines, you can pick a toothbrush that is right for your kids and that makes them excited about brushing.
If you have any additional questions about your child's oral hygiene, please feel free to contact us at Urbana Pediatric Dentistry. To learn more about Urbana Pediatric Dentistry visit our About Us page. For more tips and information feel free to Contact Us and follow us on social media on Instagram @urbanapediatricdentistry and Facebook @urbanapediatricdentistry.