Every parent or guardian wants the best oral healthcare for their children, but it’s hard to succeed without the proper tools. The right “tool” – in this case, your child’s first toothbrush – makes all the difference. But with so many pediatric toothbrushes on the market, which one is right for your child? Follow our guide below to help you choose the best toothbrush for your little one.
Things to Consider
As adults, we rarely put much thought into which toothbrush we use. Other than bristle softness and maybe a cool-looking angled brush head, we tend to think of toothbrushes as “just another purchase.” This thought process sometimes impacts how we buy toothbrushes for our children, too, as we often think all toothbrushes are pretty much the same.
But they’re not – and that’s especially true for your children’s toothbrushes.
Think of a toothbrush as the ultimate anti-cavity, breath-freshening, mouth-cleansing, optimal oral health tool because that’s what it is. Like any other job, having the right tool helps achieve any mission.
For parents and guardians, their mission should be exceptional teeth and gum health for their kids. After all, rates of tooth decay and gingivitis in children are much higher than you may think. For example, approximately 20% of children age 11 and under have at least one decayed tooth. In children ages 12 to 19, that rate increases by 13%. In California alone, about one in five kindergarteners has more than seven cavities.
Clearly, something is wrong with pediatric and adolescent dental care in the United States, but that doesn’t mean your child has to join those statistics. In fact, your child’s toothbrush can play a vital role in preventing and reversing those trends.
Buying the right children’s toothbrush is a crucial step to ensure sustainable, surefire dental care at home. Not sure where to start? Your child’s age is one of the most important parts of determining which toothbrush is best for them.
Toothbrushes by the Ages
- Babies – Any child under two years old has super-sensitive gums, so the traditional toothbrush is actually counterproductive here. Instead, use a clean, damp washcloth at least twice every day. Infant finger brushes are also a great way to keep your baby’s gums clean and healthy.
- Ages 2 to 5 – When your child hits two years old, it’s time for them to take a big step toward their dental care. Aim for a toothbrush with an oversized handle, smaller overall head, and ultra-soft bristles.
- Ages 5 to 9 – As the mouth grows, so does the toothbrush size. For this age group, buy a toothbrush with a medium to large bristle area, but keep the bristles soft. For the mature kids in this bracket, an electric toothbrush is an option.
- Ages 9 and Up – For this age group, the best toothbrush is one that is closest in appearance and function to an adult toothbrush. A slightly smaller bristle area and a longer handle help access those tough-to-reach areas. If you’re wondering whether the experts think an electric toothbrush is a good idea, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that they are sometimes easier for children to use than traditional brushes.
What to Look For
Which features should you look for when choosing a toothbrush for your child?
- Ergonomic Design – Function follows form, so you want to ensure their toothbrush has elements like an easy-to-grip handle and other ergonomic attributes to make brushing as efficient as possible. Look for the specific “ergonomic design” on the label.
- Soft or Extra-soft Bristles – Your child’s teeth and gums are literally a work in progress. Harsh, abrasive bristles can cause excess friction, pain and even bleeding. Go with a toothbrush that has soft or extra-soft bristles – bonus points if the toothbrush has Premium Tynex DuPont Bristles, which set the standard for durability, performance, and comfort. All toothbrushes from The Super Dentists have Tynex bristles.
- The ADA Seal of Acceptance – When buying any toothbrush, always look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Any company that makes dental care products, including toothbrush manufacturers, must apply for Seal of Acceptance approval to ensure safety, quality, and reliability.
- The Fun Factor – Brushing doesn’t have to be a chore! Look for brushes with features that may make your kid more eager to brush. For example, the Super Toothbrush (pictured above) offers integrated augmented reality (never imagined your old toothbrush could do that, huh?) and a two-minute song to encourage proper minimum brushing time.
When it comes to setting your child up for dental success, choosing the right kind of toothbrush can make all the difference. After all, proper pediatric dental care starts with the right tools. Use our guide to find the ideal toothbrush for your child today.
About the Author
Dr. Kami Hoss, D.D.S., M.S. Orthodontist is reinventing the patient care paradigm in America. Armed with a master’s in craniofacial biology from USC, a doctorate in dental surgery from UCLA, and a post-doctorate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, he co-founded The Super Dentists with his business partner and wife, Dr. Nazli Keri.
Over the last twenty years, The Super Dentists has become one of the leading multi-specialty dental practices in the country, utilizing the latest tools and techniques to provide patients with the safest, fastest, and most extraordinary dental experience ever. They’ve even cut down on the time it takes for braces to straighten teeth! With Dr. Hoss’ invention of Acceledontics (a patent-pending, breakthrough system), misaligned teeth are fixed in a fraction of the time compared to traditional braces.
Besides providing his patients with state-of-the-art care, Dr. Hoss offers community programs, seminars, and workshops all over the country. His speaking engagements focus on oral health and its impact on pregnancy, sleep, disease, and even emotional wellbeing, giving people the tools and information to dramatically improve their lives.