When there are a variety of toothbrushes present in the market, buying one for your child can become a difficult task.
Kid’s toothbrushes come in varying sizes and shapes depending on their needs and ability. Also, the requirements change as your kids grow up.
There are some toothbrushes that are battery powered and some light up with their favorite cartoon characters. Other than these electric toothbrushes, you can also go for the manual ones.
But it is vital to take out time to buy the right toothbrush for your child according to their age. Also, you have to be careful when you see some specifications such as bristles, head size, handle length, etc.
In this article, you will find a few guidelines that can help you choose your child’s toothbrush.
Components of a toothbrush
There are three main components in a toothbrush which are bristles, brush head and handle. Let’s go through them one by one.
Bristles come in various shapes and sizes. But soft and rounded bristles make the best toothbrush for your child.
Soft bristles effectively clean your child’s teeth without damaging their sensitive gums. Whereas hard bristles can cut their gums and do not provide any extra cleaning.
Additionally, the rounded shape is comfortable on sensitive teeth and gums while sharper toothbrushes can easily fray as well as harm your child’s gums.
- Also read: How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
The toothbrush head should be sized to fit in your child’s mouth comfortably. They should also be small enough to clean all areas of the mouth that are difficult to reach.
The head of the toothbrush should fit comfortably between their molars and cheeks.
While purchasing their brush, take your child with you so that you can accurately check for the size of their new toothbrush.
Try to choose a toothbrush designed for your child’s age bracket.
There are many types of handles available in the market such as straight, curved and angled. But the most effective grip is not based upon design but comfort.
When you are buying your child’s new toothbrush, make sure that the handle is large and comfortable enough for your child to hold and brush properly.
Handle that fit comfortably in your child’s hand gives them more control while brushing, making the process more efficient.
If the handle is of the wrong size, it may not be easy for your child to grasp and effectively brush their teeth.
Also, you must look for a toothbrush which has rubber based handle as it is easy to grip.
Types of toothbrushes for kids
Manual & electric toothbrush
There are two common types of toothbrushes that are available and they are manual and electric.
Manual toothbrushes are as effective as their electric counterparts.
Rounded tips, crisscrossed bristles, ergonomically designed handles, and angled brush heads are just a few of the features incorporated into these toothbrushes to make them more efficient for children.
Some children may prefer to use manual toothbrushes because they don’t like the vibration or the powered motion of electric brushes.
Electric toothbrushes have a slight edge over the manual toothbrushes.
A study found that an electric toothbrush could remove a greater amount of plaque as compared to manual one because of the rotating and oscillating action of electric toothbrushes. (1)
Many children also find electric toothbrushes a lot of fun, which makes them more enthusiastic about brushing their teeth.
These toothbrushes are the ones that connect to your smartphones.
The toothbrush syncs wirelessly to your phone so that it can track your child’s brushing habits.
It tells you how long your child brushed their teeth. The toothbrush will also find out if your kid has properly brushed all four quadrants of mouth or not.
Brands such as Kolibree and Beam brushes manufacture such brushes.
Selecting the right toothbrush according to age
As your child grows in age, the changes in the oral cavity demand for a toothbrush that meets the requirements.
Therefore, it is important to purchase the right toothbrush according to your child’s age.
A damp cloth or gauze can serve as a toothbrush to wipe the gums pads.
Once the first tooth erupts, use a soft bristle toothbrush along with a damp cloth for cleaning of your child’s gums.
When buying a toothbrush, select one with a very small head that fits comfortably in your baby’s mouth.
Brushing your baby’s mouth keeps his gum pads clean and help adapt him to a tooth brushing routine at an early age.
At an age group of 2-3 years, children might want to help themselves with just about everything. So, look for toothbrushes that are easy to hold with soft grips.
You must select a small brush head and soft bristles toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are also available and acceptable for this age group.
But be careful with the electric toothbrush as it can cause abrasion of the gums if not used correctly.
Whether your kid uses an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush, your supervision is a must for proper and safe cleaning of teeth.
Children at the age of 5 have strong motor skills. They are ready to brush their teeth independently. (2)
As their adult teeth start erupting, the size of the toothbrush head should also increase for efficient brushing.
Therefore, it is important to get a larger toothbrush for the permanent teeth that have erupted.
By the time your children are around 9-10 years old, many permanent teeth erupt, and an adult toothbrush is safe to use on them.
Tooth brushing is an independent activity at this age and most toothbrushes are fine.
Toothbrushes with soft bristles clean your child’s teeth effectively when brushed correctly. These bristles are gentler on the gums as well.
Both powered and manual toothbrushes are appropriate for preadolescent children. They can opt for powered toothbrushes if they struggle with manual ones.
How to take care of your child’s brush?
You must keep in mind the following tips to maintain your child’s toothbrush –
- You must thoroughly rinse the brush after every use and shake off the excess water. Allowing it to completely dry between uses will help reduce the growth of bacteria.
- You should store toothbrushes in an upright position. To avoid spreading of germs, store them individually.
- Ensure to replace the toothbrush once you notice the change in shape of bristles. These changes happen at about three months of use.
- If sickness occurs, sanitize your child’s toothbrush in mouthwash overnight, or dip into boiling water for a few seconds. You may consider replacing them with a new brush.
- For proper dental hygiene, it’s best that every family member have their own toothbrush and not share brushes with kids.
Choosing the best toothbrush for your children is the right step in the direction for their oral health.
An ideal toothbrush must have soft, rounded bristles with the correct size of the brush head and handle. Moreover, it is the age of kid which is the primary deciding factor of selection of best toothbrush.
Whether you go for a smart toothbrush or an electric or even a manual one, make sure that you teach your child the correct way of brushing.