The conversation has now shifted from whether children should use an electric toothbrush, to choosing the best electric toothbrush for kids.
Dentists are clear in their recommendation. An electric brush has several benefits for even younger users. It helps make the process of cleaning your teeth more enjoyable and so it’s easier for kids to develop a brushing habit.
So how to go about finding the best electric toothbrush for kids? There are certain things to keep in mind that are different from the issues which guide your buying choices for adults.
1. Kids Are Easily Scared
Electric toothbrushes can take some getting used to. They vibrate, buzz and make strange noises while you clean. And the sensation caused inside your mouth can be uncomfortable initially. Children are also more sensitive to gagging which makes the experience of using an electric toothbrush more challenging.
Since their air passages are smaller, kids find the larger brush heads more uncomfortable than adults. Brushing more gently and selecting the right sized heads are important steps to ensure your kids will enjoy using an electric brush. Remember, the goal is to get kids to enjoy cleaning their teeth and maintaining oral hygiene.
2. Kids Want Guidance
Parents are often the first people a child will turn to for advice – on anything. If you demonstrate the right way to use a toothbrush, kids will happily mimic you and enjoy using one. So before even planning to get children an electric brush, it might be a good idea for parents to buy one and start using it in front of them – just to show them it’s a ‘good thing’, even quite fun.
3. Observe How Kids Breathe
Most children breathe primarily through their nostrils, but some are mouth breathers. This means they take breaths in through their mouth instead of their nose. Naturally, for these kids, using a toothbrush is more inconvenient and disagreeable than for others. It can be difficult to breathe and brush at the same time.
Coupled with their sensitivity to gagging and small air passages, the thought of sticking a large toothbrush into their mouth can seem terrifying. If you notice that your child is a mouth breather, you can compensate for it by making some adaptations to the brushing process.
Start using a small brush. Keep brushing sessions brief. Be gentle. Ensure a positive tone to the entire experience. Introduce new aspects gradually instead of rushing to teach the kid everything in a couple of lessons.
4. Go Slow On Toothpaste
Children actually don’t need toothpaste to clean their teeth until they are around 5 years old. Some kids won’t like the taste. Others might not enjoy the feel of a sticky, slimy gel inside their mouth. These can turn them off brushing teeth, let alone using an electric toothbrush.
If you begin with dry brushing, it’s more likely kids will enjoy the experience and continue to clean their teeth for the recommended 2 minutes rather than giving up in a few seconds. And the duration of cleaning is far more important in achieving dental hygiene than using toothpaste. In fact, barely 15% of the cleansing effect of brushing your teeth comes from the paste itself. Most of the cleaning happens due to the brush strokes, type of brush head, reaching all areas inside your mouth, and brushing for long enough.
Keeping these factors in mind, let’s talk about how to select the best electric toothbrush for kids.
First things first. Kids don’t need an electric type of toothbrush as much as they need to develop good brushing habits. Happily, it helps make the process smoother and therefore enhances the possibility that kids will quickly develop the brushing habit than with using a manual toothbrush.
There are some important limitations that children face while cleaning their teeth that can be overcome by the right choice:
- children don’t quite understand why it is important to brush their teeth at all
- kids can’t visualize the interior of their mouths, or sense where there are crevices or hard-to-reach areas they must try to clean
- younger children don’t usually have the kind of manual skills and hand co-ordination to be able to brush in the correct manner
For all these reasons, selecting a good electric brush for kids can be a very beneficial decision. This applies even for younger kids whose parents brush teeth for them. A kid’s electric toothbrush is faster, more pleasant, and more effective at cleaning your child’s teeth. Kids are also more co-operative and will permit brushing for long enough when you use an electric device.
What’s The Right Age To Buy An Electric Toothbrush for Kids?
As long as the child brushes under supervision, you can start dry brushing with one as early as two years of age. Most parents decide to start using electric toothbrushes when their kids are between 5 and 8 years old.
A lot about this decision depends upon the child’s ability to use the device comfortably. Many children ask for it after watching parents or siblings brushing with an electronic brush. What’s important is to avoid forcing it upon a child who isn’t yet ready. That is counter-productive and can interfere with forming a brushing habit.
Another factor that will determine the best age to start using an electric toothbrush is the mess created while brushing! If your child is too young to handle one, your bathroom might end up looking like a hurricane struck it!
Which Factors Go Into The Best Electric Toothbrush For Kids?
High Quality: Kids must have the same quality of toothbrush as adults would pick for themselves. That’s because cheaper devices are more abrasive and harmful to the teeth. And younger children have sensitive teeth and gums that are more easily damaged.
Plaque Removal: Any toothbrush should get rid of dental plaque. Look at plaque scores before choosing battery toothbrushes for kids. Removal of plaque helps avoid formation of dental cavities. Given how many children gorge on candy and sugary foods, this is very important.
Brush Head Size: The shape and size of an electric toothbrush head is a very important element in selecting a device for kids. The ideal brush can access all parts of the mouth, including behind the last molars and inside the cheeks, yet remain small enough to be comfortable.
Good Bristles: Brush heads with high quality bristles are better at cleaning and less harmful to the gums. It is recommended that a toothbrush for kids has brush heads replaced once every month.
Rechargeable: It is best for an electrical toothbrush for kids to be rechargeable and not battery-powered. They are safer for children to use.
Now that you have a fair idea of what to keep in mind, which is the best electric toothbrush for kids?
There are a couple of brands and models that dentists highly recommend for children. Which one you will pick will depend upon the unique requirements of your kids. ‘A Dentist’s Daughter’ offers a detailed guide to help you decide.