The Best Electric Toothbrush for Your Child

Dentists are often asked about the benefits of electric toothbrushes versus manual brushes. Furthermore, parents are curious about whether their children will have better oral health with an electric brush versus a manual one. It’s natural to be concerned about the overall health of your child, and oral health is no exception. So should you invest in an electric toothbrush for your child?

mother teaching cute baby how to brush teeth with toothbrush

In short: Yes. The benefits of electric brushing far outweigh the manual benefits. However, there are some factors you should take into consideration when picking out an electric toothbrush.

Important Things to Know Before Buying an Electric Toothbrush

Children can sometimes be frightened by electric brushes. They make noises, they feel strange on teeth, and children have more sensitive gag reflexes than adults. It’s likely that a toothbrush that wouldn’t be uncomfortable for you, would still cause your child discomfort. This remains true no matter what brush you invest in, so be aware of it as you introduce your child to the new toothbrush.

Children take their cues from you. If you emulate good brushing habits for your child, they’re more likely to pick up good brushing habits themselves. Smile as you brush your teeth and mention how much cleaner your mouth feels. If you make brushing seem like a fun activity, kids will be more inclined to brush their teeth.

If your child breathes through their mouth, they may have a harder time with brushing. This is because it’s difficult to brush your teeth and breathe simultaneously. When children breathe through their mouths, it’s important to introduce different aspects of brushing slowly. Going too fast might make the experience unpleasant and discourage your child from trying it again.

Children below the age of five don’t need toothpaste. Prior to this age, toothpaste complicates the brushing experience. Sometimes the child doesn’t like the taste, sometimes they’ll negatively associate toothpaste with brushing, and in many cases, children will brush for longer periods of time when their brush is dry. It’s healthier for children to brush for a full two minutes without toothpaste than to brush for only seconds with it.

Children don’t need electric toothbrushes, but an electric toothbrush will help with the overall brushing process. Children haven’t yet learned how to clean their teeth thoroughly. They’re likely to miss problem areas and to brush too lightly to clear away plaque. For this reason, electric toothbrushes help teach children good brushing habits and keep their mouths cleaner than a manual toothbrush will.

Is Your Child Ready for an Electric Toothbrush?

Children can use electric toothbrushes as young as two years old. Note that they still shouldn’t use toothpaste before the age of five, and their brushing should always be parentally supervised. Many people choose to introduce electric brushes when their child ranges from six to eight years old. If your child is averse to electric brushes at a young age, you might want to wait until they’re older. It’s better for them to use a manual brush than to associate teeth brushing with negativity.

In most cases, the right age for a child to use an electric toothbrush is the age at which they ask for one. Sometimes children will ask for an electric toothbrush when they see their parents using them, or when they see an electric toothbrush in the media they consume.

How to Choose the Best Electric Toothbrush

It’s tempting to buy a lower quality toothbrush for your child than for yourself; after all, children don’t need to brush so heavily, and their teeth will loosen and fall out eventually. But you should invest in the same quality toothbrush for both yourself and your child. Low-quality toothbrushes might be abrasive enough to damage the developing enamel on your child’s teeth.

These are the four factors you should consider when choosing an electric toothbrush:

Plaque Removal Capabilities

A high-quality toothbrush has the capability to remove plaque from all areas of the mouth, including areas that a child might find hard to reach. You can evaluate a brush’s plaque removal capability with a plaque score, which notes the plaque levels that patients have between dentist appointments. Removing plaque is the most important job a brush does, especially regarding the prevention of cavities.

Size and Shape of the Brush Head

The shape and size of the brush head can affect the ability to access difficult-to-reach places in the mouth, like those between the molars and cheeks. Having an appropriately sized toothbrush is especially important for children because their mouths are small, and the difficult-to-reach places will be even more difficult for them.

Bristle Quality

It’s a good idea to replace the brush head each month so that the bristles don’t wear away your child’s enamel. Even if the brush is of a high quality make, the head should still be replaced at least once every three months. Low-quality brushes might need replacements on a more frequent basis. When bristles wear down, they become sharp and scratch at the developing enamel.

Power Sources

Quality brushes use electric power instead of batteries. This means that you should be able to recharge the brush instead of buying new batteries for it. Battery-powered brushes don’t tend to be high-quality, and the charging areas of electric brushes are safe for children to be around.

What is the Best Electric Toothbrush?

Oral B consistently produces high-quality brush products. The Oral-B Kids Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush is an ideal brush which fits all of the previously mentioned factors in brush desirability. The head is small and soft for easier navigation of developing mouths. There’s also a larger grip than you’d find in an adult toothbrush, so kids have an easier time holding onto and using it. The brush also uses a round head motion that’s better for sensory sensitivities than sonic motions.

For children who prefer sonic waves to oscillatory motions, the Sonicare for Kids brush is an ideal fit. This brush is noisier than the Oral-B brush, though, and it has a smaller grip.

If your child likes games, the Kolibree Smart Electric Toothbrush comes with a phone app that keeps track of your child’s brushing performance. It helps your child to improve their brushing habits and brush more thoroughly.

For more information about childhood oral care, call Smile Town at (519) 749-9981, or book a consultation here.