Aisles with miles of products—that is what your average American consumer is presented with when attempting to purchase a simple, everyday item these days. With toothbrushes, the situation is no different. How is it possible to choose from hundreds of products, and does it really matter what you pick? Especially when you have multiple errands to run, a busy schedule, and a crying toddler in your cart?
The short answer: For the most part, adults and kids should use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Any brand is fine, as they are all very similar. That being said, Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry does have some favorites for specific reasons. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Best Electric and Manual Toothbrushes for Kids
We firmly recommend (and even sell in our office) the Phillips Sonicare for Kids Electric Toothbrush. Sonic vibrations help get the toothpaste into all the nooks and crannies between the teeth better than a manual toothbrush, but this one is gentler than the adult versions.
Additionally, you can download the accompanying free app on your phone that motivates kids to brush with rewards, times them to ensure they don’t rush, and educates them about the importance of brushing!
Sometimes, however, kids are just not fans of electric toothbrushes—and that’s ok! Manual toothbrushes are just as effective (and cheaper!), provided the teeth are brushed properly and thoroughly. Any soft-bristled toothbrush (example: Oral-B stages) is good here, starting with the small head for infancy through early elementary years.
You can graduate to a medium size for later elementary and middle school years, switching to adult size for the pre-teen and teen years. Kids do not have the proper dexterity to brush their molars well until the age of 8, so we always recommend parental involvement with brushing to ensure thorough cleaning!
Best Toothbrushes for Kids Who are Always in a “Rush”
Even when kids do have the proper development, children often “rush” through brushing or miss a lot of areas where plaque builds up the most—particularly along the gum line and the surfaces of the very last molars/hard-to-reach areas. For this reason, we highly recommend the Triple Bristle Toothbrush!
This is the perfect toothbrush for kids who tend to get a little lazy with toothbrushing because the head is three-sided, with bristles that hit the tongue surface, cheek surface, and biting surface of a tooth all at once! It’s also great for kids with braces. For a non-electric option, try this version from DenTrust! Triple-headed toothbrushes are also wonderful for those with special needs, limited opening, and sensitive gag reflexes.
Best Toothbrushes for Kids Who Brush Vigorously
There is such a thing as pressing too hard when you brush. Aggressive tooth brushing can contribute to gum recession and/or enamel erosion over time, so if your children tend to brush more forcefully as a habit, harder bristles are a big no-no! Enamel can also be eroded by conditions like acid reflux, grinding, or certain medications. The Nimbus Extra Soft or the Colgate Gum Health Ultra Soft toothbrushes are perfect in these cases, or for any teeth experiencing sensitivity or receding gums.
When Does Your Child Need Harder Bristles?
We often recommend a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush for children who have braces, as this helps get all the debris off of the brackets better. We also recommend harder bristles for children who have more stubborn stains or who are more prone to heavier tartar buildup. Ask your pediatric dentist if harder bristles would be better for your kids.
Best Dental Flosses for Kids
We find that the Oral-B Glide Pro Health is the most comfortable on the gums and the easiest to slide into those tight contacts between the teeth. Rarely shreds and affordable too!
For kids, their dexterity is better able to handle floss picks instead of the traditional thread. We highly recommend Glide Pro Health again, in the pick version, or Plackers Kids Dual Gripz, which have wider handles and also have a fluoride coating on the floss!
Can’t I Just Use a Waterpik Instead of Flossing?
Unfortunately, no. The Waterpik is a great adjunct to helping remove the food and debris that is loosened up by brushing and flossing, particularly with braces, and we recommend the Nano or the Sonic Fusion, which is a sonic brush and floss combo. Just keep in mind that it is not nearly as effective as floss alone. You need the mechanical contact of bristles and floss to get those teeth squeaky clean!
Having an understanding of the right toothbrush and floss types for your child is only one way to ensure they will have strong teeth and gums for life. Remember to always schedule regular visits with a dentist so they can get professional evaluations and preventative actions.
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Lafayette, LA, then do not hesitate to contact us. Our team at Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry dedicates ourselves every day to ensuring our little patients’ oral care needs are met. We will help your children develop positive habits needed not just now but into adulthood as well!