There’s no doubt that your child’s developing teeth need to be brushed daily to remain healthy and cavity-free. But you can’t simply offer your toddler the same type of toothbrush and toothpaste you use on your own teeth. After all, kids need different types of dental tools than adults. Here’s a guide to help you choose toothbrushes and toothpaste for kids.
Fluoride or Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?
Deemed “nature’s cavity fighter” by the American Dental Association, there’s no denying the power of fluoride. This naturally occurring compound helps to remineralize teeth and prevent tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water allows fluoride to enter the bloodstream, which helps to strengthen developing teeth before they erupt through the gums.
However, ingesting too much fluoride can cause enamel mottling and discoloration, a condition known as fluorosis. Because of this, many dentists recommend using fluoride-free toothpaste until your child is 2 years old. At this age, children start grasping the concept of spitting out toothpaste rather than swallowing it. Even after making the switch to fluoride toothpaste for kids, only use a pea-size amount so if your child ingests a little bit, it doesn’t cause any harm.
Toothbrushes for Babies
Dentists recommend rubbing a damp cloth over your baby’s gums to clean away sugar and bacteria after each feeding and before bedtime. As soon as the first tooth erupts, you can start using a soft baby toothbrush and a small smear of fluoride-free toothpaste. The tiny toothbrush head makes it easy to fit in an infant’s mouth.
Toothbrushes for Toddlers
By age 2, your toddler will undoubtedly want to participate in tooth-brushing time. He doesn’t have the motor control to do a good job yet, but let him have a turn regardless.
Bring your child to the store and let him select a toothbrush with a design or cartoon character that will make him excited to brush every morning and night. Consider a powered toothbrush for kids, which can be fun to use and more effective than a manual toothbrush.
Toothbrushes for Kids Ages 5 to 8
Your school-aged child is becoming more independent about his dental healthcare. He’s capable of holding the toothbrush himself, but you should still supervise to make sure he’s cleaning his teeth effectively.
Toothbrushes for kids in this age range have slimmer handles and slightly larger heads. Continue to let your child pick out his toothbrush to keep him engaged in tooth-brushing.
Toothbrushes for Kids Ages 8 & Up
By about third grade, you should no longer need to supervise your child while he brushes his teeth. As long as you instilled healthy habits, you can confidently leave him to complete the task himself.
Toothbrushes for older children look very similar to adult toothbrushes, but the heads are still slightly smaller, and the handles are fatter and shorter. Powered toothbrushes remain an appropriate option for preadolescent kids, especially if your child struggles to use a manual toothbrush effectively.
Teach Your Child When & How to Brush
Instill the following habits in your child – and follow them yourself!
- Brush each morning after breakfast.
- Brush each night before bed.
- Brush every surface of every tooth, right along the gum line, and the tongue.
- Try to brush for a full two minutes. Keep your child engaged with tooth-brushing games.
- Floss once a day. Begin helping your child floss as soon as two teeth erupt next to each other.
- Replace your child’s toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles become frayed, whichever comes first.
Dr. Evanson Can Help You Choose Toothbrushes and Toothpaste for Kids
We encourage you to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment around age 1. We’ll offer expert recommendations for using fluoride to help protect your child from cavities. We can also help you choose the right toothbrush and toothpaste based on your child’s age and dental healthcare needs.
For more oral health tips, or to schedule a dentist appointment, please contact Evanson DDS online or call our Parker office at (720) 409-0008.Leave a reply →