Convincing your kid to brush their teeth can be as challenging as persuading them to try new food. But while they may forever hate broccoli, or at least until developing a taste for it, brushing their teeth is an absolute must. The trouble is, how can you convince them to brush their teeth, let alone teach them the proper methods?
The trick lies in making sure their first few tooth brushing experiences are fun and enjoyable. Only then can you start them off on the right path to proper oral care. And one of the top ways to ensure the experience is pleasant is to select the right tool for the job.
Not sure where to start? GO SMILE is here to help parents and guardians discover how to find the best toothbrush for kids and get them excited about oral hygiene to keep their teeth healthy and their sweet little smile forever bright.
When to Start Brushing Kids’ Teeth
Before diving into the world of kids’ toothbrushes, it’s important to know when to start brushing kids’ teeth and the proper precautions you need to take. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions.
When Should I Start Brushing My Child’s Teeth?
First, to be clear: Before your baby’s first tooth pushes its way out, you should be keeping your baby’s gums healthy. As your baby learns to chew, you will need to clean their gums after feedings to fight bacteria. This can be best accomplished by using a more delicate, damp cloth or a soft rubber silicone finger brush. Ask your dentist for a recommendation of a finger brush.
How Much Toothpaste Do I Use?
As teeth come in, pediatric dentists will often recommend that you use a moist toothbrush and no more than a pinch of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. Once they reach the age of three, you can use a larger pea-sized pinch of toothpaste. Since babies are bound to swallow some of the toothpaste, these small sizes offer a safe and effective method. However, you can also minimize how much is swallowed by tilting the baby’s head slightly downward to allow the toothpaste to dribble out of their mouth.
When Should I Transition to a Real Toothbrush?
Around this time, your baby or toddler may want to begin brushing their own teeth. At this point, offer them the silicone rubber brush that you are currently using so they can practice dexterity and not harm themselves by brushing too hard. But by the age of two or three, your child should be old enough to begin learning how to spit out the toothpaste into the sink. As a parent, demonstrate to them how to do this and encourage them to aim, of course. When they are ready, then you can begin to choose a proper toothbrush.
Must-Have Features for the Best Toothbrush for Kids
Kids are relatively easy to please. If it were up to them, they would choose a toothbrush with their favorite princess or superhero on the label or handle. And hey, if that’s what it takes to urge them to brush their teeth, do whatever it takes. But as parents, it’s mainly up to us to steer them in the right direction.
In this guide, we dive into the main features to look for when choosing the best toothbrush for kids. These five main features are:
- Relative brush size
- Bristle softness
- Handle shape and size
- Replaceable brush heads
- Powered vs. manual toothbrushes
Choose an Appropriate Brush Size
When it comes to kids, make sure to choose an appropriate brush size. Children’s mouths are much smaller, so choose a brush size that is relative in proportion. One way to measure this is to choose a toothbrush with bristles long enough to reach the backside of the deepest molar on each side of the mouth. This should allow you or your kid to brush their teeth entirely and efficiently using a circular motion without missing any crevices or spots.
While toddlers require a smaller head and softer bristles, they will eventually lose their baby teeth. As children grow and their adult teeth come in, they can advance to a larger brush size and even one with stiffer bristles to accommodate their growing mouth.
Opt for a Soft, Round Bristle
Children’s mouths are much more tender than adults. So don’t expect them to warm up to a medium bristle. Instead, it would be wise to use a soft-bristled brush to start out and graduate to a medium-bristled brush later on.
Even for teens and adults, this advice still applies, only for very different reasons. Teenagers are hurried continuously, rushing off to school or sports practice. It’s a wonder you can convince them to take time to brush their teeth at all. Unfortunately, this means that when they do take the time, it’s usually a hasty rush-job, brushing too fast, which also means too hard. Ultimately, this over-aggressive brushing method can cause overly-sensitive teeth.
As a whole, it’s better to choose a soft bristle to clean teeth without causing damage to the more tender areas of our gums. Toothbrushes with hard rubber bristles, referred to as “burs,” can even cut your gums. In fact, they do not provide the additional cleaning power that’s commonly advertised.
Handle Shape and Size
Kids are still gaining dexterity in their hands, so it would be wise to choose a toothbrush that suits their grip. In other words, you want their hands to hold the toothbrush naturally as they brush their teeth.
Many toothbrushes are offered in straight handles, curved handles and angled handles. Ideally, however, the handle needs to be wide enough and comfortable enough for them to grip the toothbrush for the entire two-minute duration. If they can’t get a good grip, kids can become disinterested in brushing or even frustrated, which is even worse as it adds a negative experience.
In addition to the handle’s size and shape, look to find a toothbrush with a soft rubber grip that allows them to grasp the handle more easily.
Choose a Reusable Toothbrush
It’s essential to change your toothbrush. Over time, the bristles can become frayed and less efficient at keeping your teeth clean. While there are many affordable single-use options available, reach for a reusable toothbrush that offers an exchangeable, replaceable head feature.
Since it’s a good rule of thumb to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, it will eliminate a good bit of waste and offer a more green-friendly solution. Instead of tossing the entire toothbrush, replaceable heads can allow you to pop on a new brush head when the old one loses its shape and begins to wear down.
As a general rule, you should also replace a toothbrush when your child gets sick, as bacteria can quickly build up and reignite their illness later in time. For colds and influenza, especially, you should ideally acquire a new toothbrush once the child is no longer sick and on the mend. And since kids are notorious for getting ill frequently, a toothbrush with exchangeable heads will keep you from discarding more than is necessary.
Powered vs. Manual
Powered toothbrushes appeal to many kids. The whirling sensation is fun and playful. However, some kids find it a bit too much or could simply care less. At the end of the day, it may be better to ask your kid whether they would prefer a powered or manual toothbrush.
Powered toothbrushes do have a few advantages, though, so if you can convince your kid it’s the best option, good for you! There’s no doubt that powered toothbrushes are much more efficient at removing plaque buildup, but they also provide many additional benefits – especially when it comes to little ones.
A powered toothbrush offers a two-minute timer, which is excellent for teaching kids precisely how long they should be brushing. A powered toothbrush also provides a circular brushing motion, which assists kids who have difficulty cleaning all the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies around wires of braces and orthodontic brackets.
The Best Toothbrushes for Kids
GO SMILE is known for teeth whitening products. However, we do offer some of the best toothbrushes for kids, too. From toddlers to teens, we have something for everyone. Here are our best options for each.
The Best Toothbrush for Kids and Toddlers
The Baby BLU toothbrush for kids is perfect for little ones and toddlers who are easily distracted! How’s that, exactly? Well, the Baby BLU toothbrush offers a fun and interactive brushing experience with a recording device that allows you to record their favorite tune or even your own voice that can be played or sung back by Pepper the Panda as they brush. Plus, with a built-in two-minute timer, it encourages your child to keep brushing.
The Best Toothbrush for Older Kids and Teenagers
For those rushed teenagers who are always on the go, there’s the hands-free toothbrush. This hands-free device is incredibly convenient for busy teens, allowing them to simply place it between their teeth as they wrap-up homework in the evening or pack their backpack or prepare lunch for the school day. You can do almost anything while brushing your teeth!
Plus, this device is also a whitening toothbrush, which can offer a brighter smile and whiten teeth up to seven shades in one week – all with little to no sensitivity! This convenient feature means that it not only keeps teeth and gums healthy, but it offers your teen an extra boost of much-needed confidence as they make friends and navigate school. As a teeth whitening device, it also guarantees a big, beautiful smile for photos come homecoming, prom and picture day, creating long-lasting memories!
Both products are also reusable toothbrushes, allowing you to easily replace the mouth trays/brush heads designed with antibacterial silicone bristles.
The Search for the Best Kids’ Toothbrush
As mentioned, kids are easy to please. However, they can also be rather picky. As a parent or guardian, aim for a toothbrush with all – or at least some – of the above features. Your child may not be ready for an electric-powered toothbrush, and that’s okay. But at the very least, teach them the basics of how to brush their teeth. Yes, even if it means brushing their teeth yourself with their character-themed toothbrush. At the end of the day, you simply need to convince them that brushing maintains good oral hygiene.
It also helps to ask your kid for their own input. Encourage them to discuss what they like for a toothbrush and what features they prefer. Much like any other clothes they wear or activities they try, you may go through a few toothbrushes to land on a kid-approved winner. It can be frustrating as a parent, but it’s a much better alternative than having a toothbrush that sits on the bathroom counter and never gets used.
As parents, we tend to rely on our seemingly infinite wisdom, when sometimes the only encouragement kids need is a toothbrush that plays a cute little jingle.Shop our Selection of Toothbrushes