4 Things to Look for in a Child’s Toothbrush

As a responsible parent, you know the importance of dental care for young children. You worked closely with your dentist as your infant’s first teeth erupted. And you carefully cleaned those tiny teeth every morning and night.

Now that your toddler has grown into an energetic child, you feel that he or she needs to learn some independence. You want your son or daughter to learn the importance of brushing and flossing daily, and a new, colourful toothbrush seems likethe perfect way to begin.

But as you shop the store aisles, you feel a little overwhelmed at the sheer number of options. Should you pick the electric toothbrush or the manual? Should you choose the one with Disney characters or the one with zoo animals? Which brushes offer the most dental health benefits?

To help you in your search, read the following toothbrush guidelines. When you look for these features, you can find the right toothbrush for your child.

1. Soft Bristles

Adults and children a like should use soft-bristled toothbrushes. Medium and hard bristles wear away the enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to cavities and decay. Additionally, hard-bristled brushes scrape at your child’s sensitive gums, making each cleaning session an unpleasant experience.

When you buy a soft-bristled toothbrush for your child, don’t forget to instruct him or her about the proper way to brush. Encourage your son or daughter to use gentle friction, rather than force, to clean his or her teeth.

2. Round Head

Although your child has grown all too quickly, he or she likely has a small mouth with little room to work a tooth brush. To better squeeze into that tight space, your child will need a toothbrush with around head.

Brushes with wider, rectangular heads do well for adults because the bristles cover more surface area, saving time and ensuring a thorough clean.

But in a smaller mouth, the square head may become difficult to manoeuvre. Each stroke may hit the surrounding gums and cheeks, resulting in injury to the soft tissue.

3. Sure Grip

By now, your little one has learned a few basic motor skills through play. He or she can hold a spoon, pick up chopsticks and turn the pages of his or her favourite picture book. But though these skills have progressed beautifully, your child may need a little help now and again with finer tasks.

A thin, plastic toothbrush may prove difficult to hold and manipulate when wet. So if your child struggles to brush his or her teeth, consider a toothbrush with a long handle and a rubbery, cushioned grip.

If your child has trouble with a traditional toothbrush, consider an electric one. Electric toothbrushes often have a wider base (to house the motor), making them easier for small hands to hold.

4. Fewer Bristles

While the number of bristles varies between toothbrush brands and manufacturers, the typical adult toothbrush has about 11 to 12 rows of bristles and about 3 to 4 columns on the head. These extra bristles work together to clean each surface of your teeth.

But your child undoubtedly has fewer teeth and much smaller surface areas to clean. The extra bristles can prove just as difficult to manage as the wider, rectangular head.

For younger children and toddlers, find a toothbrush with half as many bristles, 5 to 6 rows and 2 to 3 columns. As your child ages, you can look for brushes with gradually more rows and columns.

Talk to Your Dentist If You Need More Help

These features should help you pick a good toothbrush for your son or daughter. However, if you still worry about finding a good option for your kids, talk to your dentist. Your dentist can recommend a good brand or style that fits your child’s needs and maintains ADA standards.