Most children start to get their first teeth when they’re between 4 to 7 months old, and once those teeth start coming in, they need to be cared for. Infants and young children can’t properly brush their teeth on their own, so that means it’s up to parents to do the brushing.
Before you can get to brushing, you have to pick out your child’s first toothbrush. You may not have thought about it before, but there are a lot of different factors that determine the best toothbrushes for kids. Before you run out and by any old brush, check out these tips for selecting your child’s first toothbrush. Once you’ve picked out your child’s toothbrush, be sure to schedule a check up with your local pediatric dentist.
Opt for Soft Bristles for Painless Brushing
Toothbrushes are available with various types of bristles. Usually, the packaging will indicate that a brush has soft, medium, or hard bristles. The best toothbrushes for kids have soft bristles. Soft, rounded bristles are dentist-recommended for children’s mouths, since they will effective clean teeth without irritating your child’s sensitive gums. Opt for bristles that have a rounded shape, since bristles in an angular shape are more prone to fraying.
Don’t buy toothbrushes that have added rubber bristles. These additional features don’t provide any benefits, and they can actually cut your child’s gums.
Little Brushes for Little Mouths
Your child doesn’t wear the same size clothes as you since they’re so much smaller than you. That logic can be applied to their first toothbrush too. You need to pick out a brush with a head that’s small enough to fit comfortably between their back molars and cheek. It can be helpful to bring your child along to pick out a brush.
A lot of toothbrush manufacturers offer toothbrushes that are specifically made for infant oral care. Look out for those numbers on the packaging, and it should simplify the process of finding a properly sized brush.
Handles for Small Hands
If your child has graduated to brushing on their own, be sure to think about what kind of handle they’ll need on their first toothbrush. You can find toothbrushes with a wide variety of handle shapes and sizes. While there isn’t a definitive rule for the best toothbrush handle for kids, you should make sure you think about a toothbrush that will be easy and comfortable for your child to hold.
Since children have small hands, you should avoid anything too large or bulky. If your child’s first toothbrush is too uncomfortable for them to hold, they’ll be less likely to brush regularly, or they may cut their full 2-minute brushing time short.
Finding a handle that fits your child’s hand also gives them more control while brushing, meaning they’ll brush more effectively. Consider choosing a brush that has a rubberized handle to help make gripping it easier.
Electric Toothbrush Guidelines
The popularity of electric toothbrushes is on the rise, and they can be a good choice for children, too. When selecting an electric toothbrush, be sure to follow the same guidelines as you would for a manual first toothbrush: soft bristles, small head, and an easy-to-grip-handle. It’s important to note that a lot of electric toothbrushes are designed with bulky handles, and these can be unsuitable for small hands. Try looking at electric toothbrushes that are designed specifically for children, since they will often have slimmer handles.
If your child has trouble sticking to a brushing routine, electric toothbrushes may help with that. They often come in fun, character-themed styles that may make your child more excited to use them. Electric toothbrushes usually have a built-in timer, which means that it will help your child adhere to best toothbrushing practices. If your child knows that they can’t stop brushing until their toothbrush shuts off, you’ll know that they’re brushing for a full two minutes.
Replace Toothbrushes Regularly
Your child’s first toothbrush will not be their last. In addition to knowing the best toothbrushes for kids, parents should also know the best practices for toothbrushes. By learning when to replace your child’s (and your) toothbrush, you’ll help ensure that they’re brushing effectively.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your child’s toothbrush every 3 months. However, you may want to replace it more often if your child is particularly hard on the brush. As your child brushes, they will wear down the bristles. As soon as you notice that the bristles on your child’s toothbrush look misshapen or frayed, it’s time for a new brush. Brushing with misshapen bristles can irritate sensitive gums, and it makes brushing less effective.
You may also want to replace your child’s toothbrush if they get sick. Your child’s toothbrush can collect bacteria on the handles and bristles, so it can prolong or spread sickness. If your child has the flu or a cold, you’ll want to change their toothbrush at the beginning and end of their illness. This will prevent any lingering bacteria from making them sick after they start getting better.
Making sure that your child’s first toothbrush is perfectly suited to their mouth is just the first step on a lifelong journey of proper brushing. With so many toothbrushes on the market, it can seem overwhelming to have to choose the best toothbrushes for kids. Of course, now that you know all the tricks, you should have no problem selecting a toothbrush that will keep your child’s teeth healthy and bright –– and you can avoid the need for composite fillings for your children down the road.
As your child gets older and learns how to brush their teeth on their own, teach them about the toothbrush selection process. In addition to making sure that they brush regularly, be sure to bring your child to the dentist every 6 months for cleanings. Make your appointment at Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental today to keep your child’s smile looking bright.