How to select the right toothbrush for your child

When it comes to picking out a toothbrush the task may seem a little overwhelming. Especially when your toddler is grabbing for their favorite character regardless of what size the toothbrush head is or what the cost. I know from experience, it is always an event when we go down the toothbrush aisle. I always find it best to select a few toothbrushes that me all the right criteria that have her favorite characters conveniently plastered on the handle. What is that criteria you might ask? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends you choose a toothbrush designed for children’s smaller hands and mouth’s. Look for large handles that help children control the toothbrush. The best toothbrushes have soft, round ended bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums. When in doubt look at the age on the package. Toothbrush manufactures will put a recommended age that correlates to the size of the toothbrush head and handle.

You may wonder if an electric toothbrush is ok for your child. Many times electric brushes also feature the character your child is insisting on getting. Anything that will boost your little ones interest in brushing can be an effective strategy. Sometimes however, with very early brushers, an electric toothbrush might be frightening. It also may be harder for you to get in there and do a thorough job with the follow-up brush on your wiggly toddler because the electric toothbrush head is designed to hit only one tooth at a time. For slightly older kids with more patience, an electric toothbrush can be a great incentive to keep those chompers clean. With extra features like songs and lights, your little one could be grooving with the music while getting their teeth extra clean.

 Finding a toothbrush at our house is not a difficult task. In the toothbrush holder there is always a wide selection of our daughter Arie’s favorite characters. Disney is a marketing genius. Arie’s favorite part of the night is picking out which toothbrush she is going to use. This month the current selection is hello Kitty, Tinker Bell, or Rapunzel.

A lot of moms wonder when it is time to change out and throw away their children’s toothbrushes. The guidelines recommend to throw out a toothbrush after three months or sooner if the bristles are frame. Frayed bristles can harm the gums and are not as effective in cleaning teeth. A toothbrush should also be replaced after a child has a flu or bacterial infection. Our toothbrushes are often thrown out earlier than three months due to a cold or frayed bristles.(it looks like it’s about time for Hello Kitty to say hello to the trashcan 🙂

For some of you however it might be good to put a reminder on the calendar three months past the time you purchase new toothbrushes. Since your child will receive a new toothbrush at every dental visit, you should only have to buy one toothbrush in between times.

-Dr. Matt

Matthew L. Rasche, DDS, MSD, Southern Indiana Pediatric Dentistry (812) 333-KIDS (5437)