For all the time you’ve spent researching the best baby products, tools, and supplies for the nursery that make life easier when your little one is born, it’s likely you’ve considered what type of toothbrush would be best for your child until that first little tooth bud popped through.
If you now find yourself wondering how to go about choosing a toothbrush, you’re in the right place. Whether your child has just started teething or is ready to take on the responsibilities of daily brushing for themselves, there are several things to consider based on your child’s age, development, ability, and preferences.
Dr. Kami Hoss, an orthodontic specialist and dentist in California, thinks finding the right toothbrush is an important first step. “Children should like, even love, their toothbrushes so they’re encouraged to use them,” he told Mom.com. “In fact, more than a third of children brush their teeth less than twice a day. There are a variety of toothbrushes with cool designs, music, and lights to make brushing fun.”
Jamie Reed agrees that making toothbrushing fun for her child is key. “I’ve been trying new things for my toddler when it comes to toothbrushes. We’ve tried electric, and now we’re trying a light-up one,” she told Mom.com
Hoss advises parents to choose carefully when deciding what type of toothbrush is best for their child. “Anything that goes in your child’s mouth needs to be safe and of high quality. Moms need to pay particular attention to the bristles,” he instructed.
When choosing any dental product for yourself or your child, be sure to look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on the packaging. Companies are required to reapply for the Seal of Acceptance every three years to be able to use it on their packaging. It is an industry-wide designation that dental products like kids’ toothbrushes are safe and effective.
If you’re wondering what type of toothbrush is best, take into consideration your child’s age and development. The following tips should help you find the best toothbrush for your child.
Best baby toothbrush options
Until your infant begins teething, simply wiping your baby’s mouth with a clean, damp, gentle washcloth after feeding will suffice in keeping gums healthy and prevent bacteria buildup. Use a gum toothbrush at nighttime to create an evening routine. As your baby grows, routines will make the bedtime transition easier.
Another option for infants is a soft gum toothbrush that fits on the tip of your finger. These baby toothbrush silicone massagers are designed for infants over the age of two months. Once your child’s first tooth erupts, a visit to the dentist is warranted. Normally this happens when your baby is around 6 months old. This visit will give you a chance to address any concerns you may have with your child’s dentist and is a good way to screen for any potential dental issues that may arise.
Choosing a toothbrush for older kids
The best type of toothbrush
For infants and toddlers, a kids’ toothbrush with a smaller bristle head and ultra-soft bristles is preferable. Children between the ages of 3 and 12 will do well with toothbrushes with a medium-sized bristle area and soft bristles.
Should I buy an electric toothbrush for my child?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), both manual and electric kids’ toothbrushes effectively remove plaque from your child’s teeth. Often, though, an electric toothbrush may be preferred for those with dexterity problems. “The elderly, people with disabilities, or children — or those who have dental appliances, like braces, may find a powered toothbrush easier to use,” according to the ADA website.
For help choosing the best electric toothbrush for your child, consult the ADA shopping list for toothbrush brands and products that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Best toothbrush for braces
Kids with braces face additional challenges when trying to keep their teeth clean. You can help instill good dental care habits from the beginning by providing your child with the proper tools.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), flossing before brushing your teeth is essential. In a video demonstration, the AAO suggests a reusable floss threader to pull floss underneath each arch-wire of the braces. For braces wearers, the best toothbrush will have soft bristles. Choose a toothbrush with a channel in the center. This allows the shorter bristles to brush the area around the braces while the longer bristles reach the tooth directly.
Mom of four Laura Canada Oneill offered an extra tip. “Get an electric toothbrush and water pick,” she told Mom.com. “For my older boys, the orthodontist included an electric toothbrush with round heads that worked well with braces. The water pick works well for anyone, but especially for those with braces.”
This article was originally posted on Mom.com