Electric toothbrushes do an excellent job of removing plaque from teeth and improving your gum health and many people find them much easier to use and more effective than a manual brush. The earlier we get into good brushing habits the better, so an electric toothbrush is a good choice for children too.
What to know before buying a kids’ toothbrush
Too many children are ending up having teeth removed as a result of decay
Tooth decay is almost entirely preventable
Tooth brushing is a skill that needs to be learned
Good brushing habits last a lifetime
It’s important to choose the right toothbrush for a child
Children’s gum health
Regularly check your children’s gums. They should be pink, with an even tone throughout the mouth. If the area above one of the teeth is red and swollen, an infection may be the cause. Keep your eyes open for bleeding gums. Although less common in children than adults, bleeding gums and bad breath can be a sign of early stage gum disease caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria. If you don't remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them, it builds up and irritates your gums. This can lead to redness with bleeding, swelling and soreness.
Children and tooth decay
Children are as susceptible to tooth decay as adults. Look out for signs such as a dull white band on the tooth surface closest to the gum line. This is the first sign and can often remain undetected by parents. If your children suddenly complain about hot or cold food being painful, or it starts to hurt when they chew or bite, these can also be signs that a trip to the dentist is necessary. Make sure your child visits the dentist as often as he or she recommends for check-ups.
Keeping children’s teeth clean
Encourage your children to brush their teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Up until the age of three, a child should be using a toothpaste with 1100ppm (parts per million) of fluoride as it protects the teeth long after brushing. After three they can use the same toothpaste as you (1450ppm of fluoride). Some children don’t like very strongly flavoured toothpaste so try a few until you find one they like, remember to check it has the right level of fluoride.
Good habits for cleaning teeth
Try to get into a routine where children brush their teeth before bedtime and at one consistent time of day every day – say before breakfast. Habits are very important as setting a routine early means they are more likely to take them into later life. Make cleaning more fun by doing it together.
How to choose the best electric toothbrush for kids
Ask your dentist for a recommendation
Choose a child-sized handle and brush head
Consider choosing a smart toothbrush with an attached app to track your child’s brushing performance
Turn brushing into a game to make it fun!
There is a huge range of electric toothbrushes on the market. Not all of them are suitable for children so check carefully before you buy and ask your dentist for a recommendation if you are not sure. It’s important to make sure the brush head is not too big for a child’s mouth and that the brush handle is designed to be comfortable for a small hand to hold. Some brushes come with different size brush heads and different power levels so they are suitable for all ages.
Brushing is boring!
Many children complain that brushing their teeth for two minutes twice a day is boring. It doesn’t have to be! Modern smart technology has made it even easier to engage a child’s attention and make sure they are doing a thorough job rather than a rapid, sketchy brush, missing out whole areas of their mouth.
Some smart brushes, including Philips “Sonicare for Kids”, come with an app that you can download onto your phone or tablet. As well as tracking brushing performance and providing hints and tips, children can progress through different levels and unlock rewards for good brushing. This helps make brushing a game rather than a chore and appeals to today’s tech-savvy youngsters. You can also encourage a child’s natural competitive streak by seeing who in the household is performing best when it comes to brushing – you can create your own brushing league!
The Sonicare for Kids electric toothbrush and interactive App make your child’s brushing time something to look forward to. Join the 98% of parents who report that Sonicare inspires their kids to brush better and longer.
Should I supervise my children brushing their teeth?
Although it’s important to have children brush their own teeth to get into the habit, you should supervise your child’s brushing until they are about seven years old. This means you can make sure they are doing it correctly and for the correct amount of time. Make sure children do not rinse their mouths out with water after brushing as it washes away the protective fluoride left behind by brushing.
Thousands of children are going into hospital every year to have decayed teeth removed under general anaesthetic. In most cases, tooth decay is completely preventable and good teeth brushing habits are a vital part of the fight against it. Used properly, electric toothbrushes do an excellent job of keeping children’s teeth clean. Many are designed to engage with children in a fun and interactive way so brushing becomes an easy habit, rather than a chore to avoid.
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