February is National Children’s Dental Health Month—a holiday founded to raise awareness about the importance of oral health for kids. In honor of this, we've put together a guide for the best children’s toothbrushes in 2014.
The toothbrush is a key element to maintaining good oral health. And while your kids may have the technique down, if they're using a poor toothbrush, then their technique may not do them much good.
Look into getting them the very best toothbrush to optimize their good dental health habits. And here's a bonus - if you're a parent who struggles to get your child to even brush his or her teeth, some of these toothbrushes may be able to help you as well.
Best “Smart” ToothbrushesWe are in the technology age after all, so this first category of toothbrushes for kids are ones that connect to your phone, adding a fun element to the somewhat mundane routine.
- Kolibree Toothbrush. Produced by a French company called Kolibree, this electric toothbrush syncs wirelessly to your smartphone so it can track you or your child’s brushing habits. It will tell you how long you brushed your teeth, if you brushed all four quadrants of your mouth and if you brush well (going up and down) or poorly (just going side to side). You are rewarded for good brushing habits and “shamed” for poor brushing habits. This shaming includes sharing your brushing performance with your social network or even with your dentist. It makes brushing your teeth a game of sorts that most hope to win. This toothbrush costs between $99 and $200 depending on the model. It will be available to pre-order this summer through Kickstarter—a crowdfunding site that shares product ideas and raises money through campaigns to fund the actual product.
- Beam Brush. The only other “smart” brush out there right now is called the “Beam Brush.” This manual toothbrush also connects to your smartphone, but, unlike the Kolibree, it cannot track the toothbrush’s movement in your mouth as you are brushing. However, it still connects to an app on your phone and uses a sensor located inside the brush to record how long and how frequently you brush your teeth. You can share the data between the whole family so each person can see how long and how often everyone's brushing their teeth. This toothbrush can be purchased for $25 on Beam Brush’s website. The replacement heads are $3.99.
Best Electric ToothbrushesMost of the time, electric toothbrushes clean children’s teeth better than manual brushes because it does most of the moving and brushing, going over the teeth methodically and effectively. And while electric toothbrushes are great for kids because of this—and because it seems to make brushing your teeth more fun—there is a big difference between adult electric toothbrushes and children’s electric toothbrushes. Each toothbrush model is specifically designed for either kids or adults. For kids, brushes have soft bristles so they don’t harm a child’s teeth or gums. Kids under 12 years of age should be using kid-specific electric toothbrushes and not adult ones. That being said, here are the best electric toothbrushes for kids:
- Arm & Hammer’s SpinBrush Electric Toothbrush for Kids. Kids brush their teeth 38 percent longer when using this product. It is available in several different designs and characters. It has a smaller toothbrush head for smaller mouths and has a comfortable grip. Children under three years of age should use this toothbrush with adult supervision. Arm & Hammer also has another fun toothbrush for kids called Tooth Tunes. Tooth Tunes plays two minutes of music as the kids brush their teeth, making their twice-a-day task a little more fun.
- Oral-B Pro-Health Stages Power Toothbrush. This toothbrush provides a thorough clean by cleaning chewing surfaces, reaching between teeth, cleaning gently and making brushing teeth fun with the different Disney characters available for these toothbrushes. This toothbrush is for children three years or older.
- Philips Sonicare for Kids. Sonicare for Kids was designed to help children develop healthy brushing habits. Parents can teach their children how to brush properly with this product and it is a great toothbrush to use when transitioning from brushing together to having your children brush their teeth on their own.
Best Manual ToothbrushesThe American Dental Association provides a list of manual toothbrushes that have achieved their seal of approval because they have each proved:
- All of the toothbrush components are safe for use in the mouth
- Bristles are free of sharp or jagged edges and endpoints
- The handle material is manufacturer-tested to show durability under normal use
- The bristles won’t fall out with normal use
[This information was taken from the American Dental Association’s website.]
Manual Kids' Toothbrushes with ADA Seal of Approval
- Dr. Fresh Peanuts Toothbrush. This toothbrush comes in a pack of four. It fits a child’s mouth, has a comfortable grip and soft bristles.
- SmileGuard Toothbrush. Available in a variety of characters, this toothbrush is designed for children’s mouths and has a suction cup on the end of the handle for easier storing.
- RADIUS Kidz Toothbrush. Very soft, BPA-Free and made with FDA-approved plastic, the Radius has a customized grip for kids six years of age and above. What makes it special is its smooth oval head, which cultivates pressure-less brushing.
- Firefly Toothbrush. This toothbrush is available in a variety of characters.