As busy parents, you probably look forward to your bedtime routine as much as you used to look forward to seeing your favorite band in concert. Your kids, on the other hand, probably are not so thrilled to be winding down their day.
So what can you do to ease the stress of getting your little one ready for bed?
Well, for starters, you can make their toothbrushes things that they enjoy using. A good toothbrush cleans those pearly whites, but an electric toothbrush can make teeth cleaning fun and something your child will look forward to, day and night.
An easier morning and a quicker bedtime routine? Sounds like the thing of dreams, right? Well, let’s take a look at some electric toothbrush basics, and then we’ll tell you about the products that can make those dreams come true.
Choosing the best electric toothbrush for kids
Your toddler or child has different dental needs than yours. Throw in kids with braces, and you have lots more to think about. Here are some basics to remember while shopping for an electric toothbrush.
Benefits of an electric toothbrush
Your little one hasn’t the dexterity to get all those teeth clean on their own just yet. An electric toothbrush can help them get all those pearly whites cleaner than if they are using a manual toothbrush. This is because the spinning or vibrating bristles will make up for your child’s lack of manual dexterity. Besides, what kid won’t like the idea of using a toothbrush with a motor?
Size of brush
We know that sometimes the mouths of your toddlers and young kids can seem to rival Mount Vesuvius in size, but, when it comes to choosing an electric toothbrush, it’s important to remember that they are actually quite small. You need a toothbrush that can extend to the back molars with the bristles able to reach the backs of the teeth, without being too much of a mouthful. Pay close attention while comparing your child’s mouth size to that of the toothbrush head, as a good fit will make all the difference when it comes to comfort and ease of use.
When you are testing a toothbrush, be sure to choose one with very soft bristles. Anything too stiff can damage your child’s gums and wear away precious enamel. Brushing too hard with a stiff brush can also lead to oversensitivity issues with the teeth, so, when in doubt, go with as soft a bristle as possible.
This part of the toothbrush should be larger than that of an adult’s toothbrush. With your toddler or child still developing their manual dexterity, a larger handle will give them a better grip, thus making a better job of cleaning their teeth.
Rechargeable vs. battery operated
Battery-operated electric toothbrushes are generally the cheaper option. However, they tend not to last as long as their rechargeable counterparts. Be sure to consider the expense of regularly buying new batteries if you decide to go with a non-rechargeable model. If you are going to purchase a rechargeable toothbrush, check how much the replacement heads are.
When to replace a toothbrush
Your child’s toothbrush, or toothbrush head, will need replacing more frequently than your own. On average, look to buy a new brush, or replace the head, at least every three months. If you notice the bristles are no longer standing up straight, or that they’re beginning to fray and have a “ratty” appearance, it’s time to replace that brush or bristle head.
Ah, braces! They make for interesting school pictures, plenty of dentist appointments, and a whole new challenge with oral health. As far as buying a toothbrush goes, you will generally be following the same rules for a child without braces. You want very soft bristles, a small head, and a comfortable, wide handle. Pay closer attention to how well the toothbrush removes food particles, plaque, and other debris from between the wires and brackets that make up your child’s braces.
Two-minute timers and quadrant timers
Some toothbrushes come with timers or have apps you can download onto your phone and run during your kid’s morning and bedtime brushings. A two-minute timer will let your children know when the recommended brushing time is over, while a quadrant timer will alert them to begin brushing a new area of their mouth so that no teeth are left untouched.
Our picks of the best kids electric toothbrushes
Armed with this knowledge, let’s move on to some of our favorite electric toothbrushes for your toddlers, children, and kids with braces.
Best for older kids
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, you’ll certainly find this rechargeable toothbrush a great buy.
Delivering 500 brush strokes per second, an incredible 91% of dental professionals prefer this toothbrush for their own children.
This product comes with an optional free app that you can download onto your phone or tablet to make brushing more fun for your younger kids. It features a Kid Timer, so your child will know when their two minutes of brushing have elapsed, and a Kid Pacer, so they know when to move to a new area of their mouth.
Ages: 4+ years
Replaceable head?: Yes. (None included with purchase.)
Best with sound
Everyone’s favorite ninja turtles are here to help your child clean their teeth! The characters’ voices will let your kid know when it’s time to start brushing a different part of their mouth and will congratulate them when they have completed two minutes of cleaning their teeth. The head is small, has soft bristles, and oscillates.
This brush isn’t rechargeable, instead running on two AAA batteries, but kids of all ages will love the easily gripped handle and fun voiceovers.
Ages: 3+ years
Replaceable head?: No
Best for braces
Despite the name, the design on this toothbrush is generic enough to be appreciated by kids and teenagers alike without being too cartoonish. More important still, this product is intended to deliver an excellent clean for children with braces.
With a design intended to work around wires and brackets, unwanted debris won’t be left behind. It also has a handle that is easily gripped and waterproof.
You can download an app for the Disney Magic Timer™ and other Frozen extras. Although, unfortunately, it doesn’t alert your kids when to brush different parts of their mouths, it will pulse to let them know when their two minutes of brushing have elapsed.
Ages: 8+ years
Replaceable head: Yes. (One included with purchase.)
Best for toddlers
This toothbrush has a great thick handle, sports an easy to grip “S” curve, and comes fitted with environmentally friendly, skid-proof rubber. The bristles are soft enough for your toddler’s delicate mouth, and the mini brush head is a perfect size to reach those back teeth. An LED light allows you to see into your child’s mouth, so you can be sure every spot is getting cleaned.
This brush doesn’t rotate but instead utilizes micro vibrations. These provide a gentle gum massage to promote healthy tooth growth.
It isn’t rechargeable, so batteries are required, though it automatically turns off after two minutes so your child knows when to stop brushing.
Ages: 6 months-4 years
Replaceable head?: Yes. (Three included with purchase.)
If the eyes are windows to the soul, then smiles are the reflection of the heart. Keep your child’s smile healthy and radiant by instilling good hygiene habits as early as possible. Since anything can become a game if it’s fun, there’s no reason bathroom routines need to feel like a chore, whether it’s brushing teeth or practicing using the toilet on their potty seat. A little imagination and a great toothbrush will keep your child’s grin white and healthy for life, so they’ll never be afraid to smile their heart out to the world.