(616) 676-9177
(616) 676-9177

Toothbrushes & Toothpaste: Which Is Right For My Child?

Pediatric dentistry in Ada MIIt’s easy enough to select an appropriate toothbrush or toothpaste for yourself and as long as neither are abrasive, you’re generally good to go. When it comes to kids, however, it can be trickier knowing what the best option is for their smile. Our Ada, MI, pediatric dentist is luckily here to help make it easier for you!

Here are a few toothbrush and toothpaste suggestions for children that you can use next time you’re scouring the oral hygiene aisle at the store.

Step One: Pay Attention to Age

For ease of use and safety, kids’ toothbrushes come in various sizes depending on different stages of development. There are specially designed toothbrushes made specifically for toddlers, preadolescents, and even babies. 

Each age group should generally use the following style of brush:

  • 0-3: silicone finger slip toothbrush once teeth begin to erupt. After age 1, parents can use a toothbrush with a small head
  • 3-5: kid-sized toothbrush; typically, one with a larger handle
  • 6-9: kid-sized toothbrush: one with a slimmer handle than those for toddlers
  • 10+: adult sized toothbrush

Selecting Between Electric & Manual Options 

Walking through the aisle of dental products at the store can be a lot to take in. Seems like endless options, right? Stripping away brands, it all comes down to two major groups. Electric toothbrushes or manual toothbrushes. 

Is one better than the other? Not necessarily. While your less than dexterous young one may have an easier time cleaning plaque with an electric toothbrush, manuals are just as effective.

When picking out a toothbrush, make sure it:

  • Has a soft grip that is comfortable for your child to hold
  • Features soft bristles that are gentle on teeth and gums
  • Suits your child’s individual needs
  • Excites your child; don’t just focus on features, think of design too!

Keep This in Mind → When bristles become frayed and or the toothbrush is at least 3 months old, it’s time to buy a new one. 

Choose Fluoride Toothpaste 

No matter which toothpaste you choose, it’s always best to go for the options that contain fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that helps to prevent unwanted cavities, strengthen tooth enamel, and reverse early tooth decay.

Toothpastes of this nature come in all sorts of flavors and colors bound to make brushing fun. You can allow your child to pick out the one they would like but it is up to you to make sure they’re using the proper amount. 

Children do not develop the ability to spit until about age 3. So, no more than a rice-sized amount of toothpaste should be used. Once they are between the ages of 3-6, they can transition to using a pea-sized amount. Young children need to be monitored closely while brushing. This ensures they do not swallow an excessive amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Keep This in Mind → There’s no need to pick a toothpaste that promises whiter teeth. Depending on the formula, these toothpastes can be abrasive even for adult teeth. Just focus on cleaning your child’s teeth!

Make Sure They Brush For Long Enough

We know, two minutes of brushing can feel like forever especially when you’re dealing with an impatient child. Many toothbrushes for children have a built-in timer that helps keep track of the time but even then, it can be a stretch. 

Our pediatric dentist recommends always aiming for that increment of time. But, if not possible, help your child to brush as thoroughly as possible. Even if you have to guide their brush across all teeth and in all nooks and crannies, it’s better than nothing. 

Be sure to also encourage your child to brush all the way back to the molars. This is important because baby molars do not fall out until they have reached age 12. Both electric and manual toothbrushes provide a great cleaning experience but it’s up to you to instill the habit of brushing early on. 

Request an Appointment with Dr. Stephanie 

Is your child due for a cleaning? In addition to at-home oral care, our pediatric dentist in Ada, MI, recommends they receive a professional cleaning every 6 months for a healthy smile. Call Norman Family Dentistry today at (616) 676-9177 to request an appointment.