Sometimes it seems like there are far too many options out there for choosing your child’s toothbrush. Depending on how old your child is, their toothbrush needs may vary in size and shape, not to mention which color or cartoon character they want featured on their brush! That’s why your children’s dentist has created this guide on how to pick out the right toothbrush for your little one.
Babies and Toddlers
Before your infant has any teeth, clean their gums with a damp washcloth. When their first little tooth begins to erupt, that’s when you should start brushing. Toothbrushes for toddlers come in fun, bright colors with small heads to comfortably fit in their mouth, as well as large soft grips that are easy for little hands to hold. At this age, they might not have the fine motor skills to brush their own teeth, but that’s where you can help them before or after you clean your own pearly whites.
Ages Five to Eight
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children in this age group are getting ready to be independent about their oral health. Toothbrushes for kids between ages five and eight tend to have slimmer handles to suit the child’s more dexterous grip and larger jaws. Most toothbrushes for this age range (and younger) feature popular cartoon characters to help your child look forward to brushing.
Generally, children ages eight and older can fully brush their teeth by themselves. Toothbrushes for this age group closely resemble adult brushes, except with larger handles and slightly smaller heads. Electric toothbrushes might be a little easier for older kids to use, especially if they struggle to efficiently use a manual toothbrush.
When to Change Your Kid’s Toothbrush
When the bristles of a brush no longer stand up straight or are frayed, that’s how you know it’s time to exchange that brush for a brand-new one. Also, if your child gets sick, that’s another sign to change it. If you don’t, then germs on that brush could come back and re-infect your child at a later date. That’s the last thing you and your son or daughter want! A good rule of thumb is to switch out a toothbrush every three months.
One thing to definitely look for in selecting a toothbrush, no matter your child’s age, is soft bristles. Most dentists agree that soft bristles are easier on sensitive teeth and gums. Harder bristles may irritate the gums and don’t actually clean any more thoroughly.
Next time you’re in the toothbrush aisle at the store, use this guide to help you quickly narrow down your choices and find the perfect toothbrush to clean your favorite smile. Also, it’s a good idea to let your little one pick out their own toothbrush so that they’re more likely to use it.
About the Author
Dr. Layne Benzley earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Iowa and his pediatric dental specialty certificate from the Eastman Dental Center at the University of Rochester. He has also achieved Diplomate status with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. He takes great pride in the gentle, individualized care he delivers to every young patient who walks through his doors. To get more advice on how to choose your child’s toothbrush, you can contact Dr. Benzley at (303) 660-5373.