Creating a fun toothbrushing experience for your children is a cool way for you to help to take care of their teeth.
The power toothbrush is a great choice!
A manual brush can actually get the job done when used correctly, however I don’t recommend taking the risk. As a parent, you’re looking for efficiency, and a power brush is a great alternative to manual brushes. Power brushes, especially the ones with a soft bristle head and timer, will create a fun routine for your child and get the job done well.
Choosing a Toothbrush
Whether you’re buying a manual brush or an electric power brush, keep these must-haves in mind:
- ADA Seal of Approval. The American Dental Association’s seal reflects the standard in the dental health industry. The seal means the brush will last for a normal period of time and has no rough edges or unsafe components.
- Soft bristles. Hard bristles are marketed to the consumer because many people believe they do a better job; this isn’t the case. In fact, the harder the bristle, the more potential damage you could cause to the healthy tooth structure. Also, make it a great habit to switch out the bristle head every three months.
- Choose a child-sized head and handle. The brush must feel comfortable in your child’s mouth so he/she can maneuver it into all those nooks and crannies where bits of food can hide. The bigger the handle the better, because kids love getting a grip on their brush.
- Variety. There are plenty to choose from. Rechargeable brushes are typically the “higher-end” style and I recommend using this style brush than the battery-operated models. Two popular brands of rechargeable brushes are Oral B and Phillips Sonicare. Both do a great job!
Using a Power Brush
- Age 3 is a great age to introduce a power brush, but it also depends on the child. Some kids will pick up on things a little quicker. Overall, it’s best if they get used to this style of brush early on in life.
- A power brush does the work for you. Instead of having to brush in a back-and-forth motion like you do with a manual brush, the power brush is designed to work on a tooth-to-tooth basis. Brushing routines vary by individual, but I brush by splitting my mouth into four segments (upper right, lower right, upper left, lower left). Spend 30 seconds on each segment and that’s the recommended two minutes!
- Lighten up the pressure. Brushing with a power toothbrush requires minimal effort and less force, while still being more efficient and effective than a manual brush.
- It’s music to their teeth. Some power brushes (i.e., Sonicare, Oral B) play music until it’s time to stop, which will encourage the two minutes of brushing and make it fun.
- Be sure to brush morning and night.
- Floss once daily. Flossing should be done prior to brushing because it will remove all of the food particles, etc. and you can brush them away after.
- Count the teeth. When kids know how many teeth their tiny mouths contain, it brings excitement. They feel the need to take care of them! I recommend counting them in front of a mirror where the kids can visually appreciate all of their teeth. I typically do this and it helps engage kids on the importance of taking care of their pretty white teeth.
– Ali Saad, D.M.D., is a dentist practicing in southeast Michigan and a volunteer blog author for the Parenting Program. He was awarded the “Top Dentist” distinction by Hour Detroit and the Consumer Research Council of America.