DISCLOSURE: Noelle Copeland RDH is an Oral Care Specialist and Dental Consultant who provides content for Brilliant Oral Care and Baby Buddy.
Helping your child stay cavity-free is more involved than just finding the right toothbrush. Sure, having the right toothbrush is important; but even more important is making sure you use it correctly once you do have it. You’d be surprised at how many people misuse a toothbrush. Often, it’s not necessarily what’s taught that’s incorrect; it’s what’s NOT being taught that’s the most harmful. For instance, If your kid has a toothbrush with bent and wonky bristles going in a hundred different directions, they are probably doing more chewing on the toothbrush than they are brushing, and that’s a problem. Especially when it comes to cavity prevention. So let’s start with how to choose the right toothbrush for your child, and then we’ll discuss oral care instructions. This way, you have the best chance of keeping your child cavity-free as long as possible.
Choosing the right toothbrush
There’s no shortage of toothbrushes, that’s for sure. Enter the oral care aisle at any store, and you will find a plethora of sizes, colors, modalities, cartoon characters, and brands that all promise the same thing. So here are some helpful tips.
- Take an inventory of special needs to address. Sensitive teeth need extra soft bristles, so choose a soft, extra soft, or ultra soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Kids may need extra motivation for oral care, so a flashy, colorful, character toothbrush may make brushing more fun and effective overall.
- Look for the age range recommendation on the package. This range is based on the typical size of children in a particular age group. This range includes the size of their mouth, their teeth, the size of their hands, and their ability to grasp and hold a toothbrush when it comes time for brush training.
- Don’t buy the cheapest toothbrush unless you have to. It’s usually cheaper because of its poorer quality.
- Don’t buy a HARD or MEDIUM firm toothbrush. They are too stiff and will cause tooth wear over time. Always pick SOFT. It never hurts to double-check and make sure the bristles are labeled soft.
- If you can find a good toothbrush in bulk packaging, buy it, or if your favorite toothbrush goes on sale, stock up. You are more likely to change a toothbrush every three months when you already have a new one available.
- Manual or Electric? A kids electric toothbrush is a fantastic option to help increase oral health. However, it needs to be the right choice for your kid. Some children find it difficult to acclimate to the vibrations, while others love it. Be sure it’s used correctly. Never leave your child alone with an electric toothbrush. Always supervise oral care.
- The ADA seal isn’t a compass for purchasing. I see many people incorrectly plugging the “Find the ADA seal of approval for oral care products.” That’s all fine and dandy, but the ADA doesn’t test every oral care product out there for efficacy, and I think many people believe they do. The ADA only tests the products that are independently submitted for testing by the manufacturer, and when that happens, the manufacturer pays a pretty hefty price tag to be “tested.” In my opinion, companies are paying for the ADA seal; as long as a brand has enough reason and resources and the product does what it is designed to do, it will get approval. Yes, the ADA has costs associated with testing. Still, when you see that a generic CVS brand toothbrush has the ADA seal, you quickly realize that the coveted seal is little more than a marketing tool for companies. So don’t fall for it. My favorite electric toothbrush does not have the ADA seal.
Oral Care Instructions
Most people need to work on the amount of time they spend brushing their teeth. Brushing doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact, it’s probably the most simple task we do every day. This is why we tend to set it on autopilot while we rush through it and forget the best way to perform it, especially for kids. I’ve personally watched my own kids put their toothbrush in their mouth, roll it around a few times, chew it a little bit, and then call it a day. Literally, zero brushing happened, and all they did was tase a little bit of toothpaste. TRUST ME; I get the struggle. Here is what we implement in my house, and I usually have to supervise it.
- Wash your hands with warm soapy water before starting. Prevents cross-contamination.
- Wet the bristles of the toothbrush with warm or hot water. This softens the bristles and removes any debris.
- Place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the bristles—smaller amounts for toddlers and young children, similar to a grain of rice.
- Start brushing in the back of the mouth first because it’s often the most missed area of surfaces.
- Put the brush in the mouth and tilt the brush head toward the gum line at an angle.
- Brush in small strokes, not long sweeping strokes.
- Focus on brushing 1-2 teeth at a time, reaching every surface.
- To brush the whole mouth effectively, in this manner, it should take at least 2 minutes; 3 minutes is even better.
- Floss between every tooth, even the teeth that don’t touch other teeth, like the backside of the last molars.
- Brush a minimum of twice a day, in the morning before eating breakfast and in the evening before going to bed. If bedtime is difficult, plan to brush after your last meal of the day, but plan the brushing to be at least 45 minutes after the final meal.
Brilliant® has made oral care easy and fun with the best toothbrush for kids, designed specifically for babies and children. Look no further to find a kid’s toothbrush that impresses everyone. Brilliant has it all!. Our patented round brush head on the kid toothbrush not only removes the plaque on teeth, it simultaneously cleans and removes the plaque and bacteria found on the cheeks, gums, teeth, and tongue. It’s the bristles that make all the difference when performing oral care, no matter if you’re using our kids vibrating toothbrush or a manual one. Brilliant brushes clean better. So don’t forget to purchase your kids automatic toothbrush today #BRUSHBRILLIANT.
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Noelle Copeland RDH is an Oral Care Specialist and Dental Consultant who provides content for Brilliant Oral Care and Baby Buddy.