Is it better to use an electric toothbrush for my child?

We know that you can get clean, plaque-free teeth, with either a manual or an electric toothbrush for your child. It is the technique that matters the most. And, brushing with an electric toothbrush is very different than brushing with a manual toothbrush. That said, a good electric toothbrush for your child can be a bit easier and faster than a good ol’ manual toothbrush.

How do I brush my child’s teeth with an electric toothbrush?

Like a manual toothbrush, you will need to have good access and visibility to your child’s mouth to brush effectively. We recommend you use the finger(s) of one hand to retract and get cheeks/lips out of the way, while holding the brush with the other. Once visibility is optimal, you will tip the (hopefully small) electric toothbrush head towards your child’s gums, where the oscillation of the  electric toothbrush’s bristles can remove plaque one tooth at a time. You don’t want to scrub several teeth at once, sweep the brush back and forth as done with a conventional toothbrush.  It is easy to lose track of time and brush for only a few seconds. You still want to brush for about 2 minutes, twice per day.

Which electric toothbrush do you recommend for my child?

There are two very popular brands in the US: Sonicare and Braun (by Oral-B). Both brands are well known by pediatric dentists and are easy to purchase. They also each have at least one kids version. We recommend the Braun Electric toothbrush for children given its lower cost and smaller head. Also, the Sonicare’s oscillation can be a bit tricky for the upper lip/nose of a young child.

The American Dental Association has explained  that an electric and manual toothbrush are each effective in brushing your child’s teeth. Check out this article from Dr J, board certified pediatric dentist, on choosing a good manual or electric toothbrush for your child.

child brushing his teeth with a toothbrush

Here is a summary of pros and cons of whether an electric toothbrush is better for your child:

Pros:

  • An electric toothbrush will provide more power in brushing your child’s teeth
  • It is easier to use
  • The electric toothbrush for your child provides powerful motion to remove plaque
  • They include excellent technology, such as timers and even bluetooth capabilities etc…

Cons:

  • It can be more expensive than a manual toothbrush
  • You still will need to replace the electric toothbrush heads periodically
  • Batteries will need to be replaced or the electric toothbrush will have to be charged

We hope you found this article useful in deciding whether to use an electric toothbrush for your child’s oral hygiene routine. 

If you want to discuss more about electric toothbrushes or have us show and encourage your child in being a better brusher, call our Scripps Pediatric Dentistry team. We can help to schedule an appointment to go over tips and tricks on brushing with an electric toothbrush. 

Have a question about your child’s oral health that you would like to submit to #AskDrJ, click here to submit your question to Dr J.

J. Shahangian

DDS, MS, CLEC, FAAPD

Dr. J is a board certified pediatric dentist and owner of Scripps Pediatric Dentistry & Brush n Brace, pediatric dental offices located in San Diego, CA. He is not only a Diplomat with the board but now also has Fellow status with the AAPD. He is a proud father of 3 beautiful girls, a San Diego native, loves soccer and is passionate about pediatric oral health. His mission is battling the number 1 disease that he has seen take over our beloved children. #AskDrJ provides answers and solutions to parents questions & concerns regarding their children's oral health. Click here for a full list of articles from #AskDrJ 

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