Finding The Right Toothbrush For Your Child

Helping young teeth stay healthy through better brushing.

A toothbrush is a toothbrush, right?  Well yes, but there are a number of options to choose from, and just as we adults choose a toothbrush to suit our own personal needs, this also needs to be the case for young children, albeit with parents or carers helping.

Getting this basic piece of dental equipment right can make a big difference in how they look after their teeth. Conversely, choosing any old toothbrush could cause potential damage.

Baby’s gums

There appears to be some confusion about oral care when it comes to babies. Mums-to-be that come to Mike Allen’s Dental Practice are sometimes a little surprised to find that although babies don’t yet have teeth, their oral care is important. Although we can’t see their teeth as they have not yet erupted, it is important to keep their gums healthy ready for when they do.

Cleaning the gums is quite easy to do and requires no more than a gentle wipe of the gums with a clean damp cloth. It will also probably help your child to become familiar with the need to clean in this area.

Young children

When teeth come through they will need to be kept clean. Although these ‘baby teeth’ will eventually fall out, no parent wants to see their child in pain because of a severe toothache. Where decay sets in and the tooth needs to be extracted, this will likely have to be done in hospital. As the first teeth also act as placeholders for the adult teeth that will eventually come through, any loss could cause problems such as misalignment; possibly requiring orthodontic treatment later on to correct it.

For a smaller child, it is necessary to buy a brush that has a smaller head. Using an adult size toothbrush would not only make brushing more difficult but is likely to be uncomfortable for the child as well. Starting out in this manner could well result in them and avoiding cleaning their teeth when they can.

Children’s teeth are also softer and less resistant to damage than adult teeth and care should be taken to use a brush with softer bristles. Using one with harder bristles may cause the enamel to wear away, exposing them to an increased risk of tooth decay.

Although you may need to help them brush their teeth initially, you should encourage them to do so themselves as soon as is appropriate. It is important therefore that you choose a brush that they are comfortable with. Don’t forget how small children’s hands are and it is important to get one that they feel comfortable holding.

As we have mentioned before, even when your children start to brush their teeth themselves, you should supervise them when doing so until such a time that you are happy they are cleaning them sufficiently well.

Manual or electric?

For some time there was an ongoing debate about whether electric toothbrushes are better than manual ones. Whilst manual toothbrushes may still have their advocates, the general consensus amongst dental professionals is that an electric toothbrush is more efficient.

Our Burton dental team tends to agree with this conclusion and also believe that they offer additional benefits for children. Not only are electric toothbrushes easier to grip as they have a bulkier handle, but the rotating heads do some of the physical work that manual brushing used to do. This is a big benefit when children are tired as they often are at bedtime. So using an electric toothbrush is more likely to result in cleaner teeth and gums.

Make use of trends and kids favourites

As most parents know, there are many ways to persuade a child to do things and when it comes to cleaning their teeth, making it as fun as possible will always help. When you are looking for a toothbrush for them, do take into account some of their favourite things such as colours etc. many toothbrushes are also now produced with cartoon character favourites on them. Making the right choice could well prove to be a winner and can encourage your child to look forward to brushing their teeth.

Making the right choice when buying a toothbrush for your child will help to get them off to a good start when it comes to having a healthy mouth. Habits developed in childhood will often continue throughout their adult life, helping to ensure a healthy set of teeth well into later life.

Children also need to see a dentist just as regularly as adults do. So if your child hasn’t had a check up in the last six months and you would like to book one at our Burton dental clinic, please call Mike Allen’s Dental Practice on 01283 845345.