Best electric toothbrush for kids

Best electric toothbrush for kids

Is it okay for kids to use an electric toothbrush?

READ: The Best Electric Toothbrushes for Kids 

Do you recommend electric toothbrushes to children in your practice?

At Advanced Dentistry of Westchester, we recommend electric toothbrushes to children on a case by case basis. Some kids just aren’t doing a good job keeping things clean with their current routine. An electric toothbrush may provide the help they need.

What are some of the benefits of using an electric toothbrush for kids? 

Manual toothbrushes clean teeth well but only if used properly. Electric toothbrushes can help make up for a brushing technique that is less than ideal.

Studies show that powered toothbrushes reduce plaque buildup over time more than manual brushes. They are helpful for children with special needs or when dexterity is an issue. Not to mention they can be really useful when trying to brush the teeth of a squirmy child. Parents should help brush until their child is at least 7 years old and can routinely tie their own shoes.

Some electric toothbrushes also include features that help get kids excited about brushing well for the full two minutes, which is a win for everyone. It is also interesting to note that occupational therapists often use vibration therapy to stimulate facial muscles and help with certain sensory issues. Lastly, toothbrushes with changeable heads use less plastic (as opposed to throwing an entire brush out), which is better for the environment.

At what age can a child start to use an electric toothbrush? 

When in doubt, check the recommendations for the specific toothbrush you are looking at. Most electric toothbrushes can be used starting around the age of three. Others suggest using their model for ages 7 and up.

What are some features to look for in an electric toothbrush for kids? 

As with any toothbrush, make sure the bristles are soft or extra-soft. Also consider the movement. Some have brush heads that rotate while others vibrate. Many vibrating brushes have different power modes, or a feature that allows the child to start slow and amp up to full brushing strength. This can be really helpful when introducing them to the new sensation.

There are even U-shaped brushes which clean all of the teeth at once when the child bites into it. Another helpful feature is a pressure sensor that causes the brush to stop when it’s being pushed too hard on the teeth. Ultimately, anything that will get your child involved in their own dental hygiene is useful.

Some play music or light up for two minutes so that the child stays engaged and the parent knows how long they should be brushing. Others connect to apps that play videos or reward good habits. One model even has an app that can track the actual brushing location and show the areas they’re missing.

What are some potential risks of using an electric toothbrush in kids to be aware of? 

Always choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, as any brush can do damage if the bristles are too firm or you’re pushing too hard. Try using two fingers or your opposite hand to hold the brush (this goes for manual toothbrushes too). Remember not to force the issue. No matter how good the toothbrush is, it won’t work if the child refuses to use it. No one wants to make the daily routine harder. You don’t want to discourage brushing altogether.

Do you have any tips for using an electric toothbrush with kids? 

Technique is key, although not as crucial as it is with a manual toothbrush. Slowly walk the brush along where the gums meet the teeth and let the electric toothbrush do the work. Make sure you’re reaching the cheek, tongue, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. It can’t clean what it doesn’t touch. Allow the child to ease in with the new device. Let them try it themselves before you brush for them. If the brush has different modes, start with gentle vibration and work your way up slowly over time.

A thorough cleaning is most important at night before bed, so focus on the evening routine. Of course, communicate with your dentist and dental hygienist about your new routine. They can give you feedback as to how well it’s working and if your child has more or less build-up than the previous visit.

How often should the toothbrush head to be replaced? 

Just like manual toothbrushes, replace their brush every 3 months or when bristles seem worn or bent out of shape. It’s also a good idea to change their toothbrush (or the head at least) whenever your child gets sick.

Do you have any favorite electric toothbrushes to recommend?

There is a range in price and features amongst electric toothbrushes. In the end, whatever gets them to happily brush twice a day is worth using. And if they get a good report at their check-up, keep with it!

READ our next article: Should you floss?


Dr. Sabrina Magid Katz has expertise in pediatric dentistry. Dr. Sabrina Magid-Katz, D.M.D., lectures to dental societies about screening for Sleep Apnea and is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. She practices general dentistry at Advanced Dentistry of Westchester in Harrison, NY where she also screens for and treats Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Dr. Magid Katz DMD holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Bases of Behavior from Duke University and completed her Doctorate of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the recipient of the prestigious “Robert Seminara Resident of the Year” award for “excellence in General Dentistry and outstanding service as a PGY1 Dental Resident” from NY Presbyterian-Methodist Hospital. Named in Westchester Magazine as one of the 22 people that everyone in the County will be talking about, Dr. Sabrina Magid Katz DMD takes great pride in the cutting-edge dental care she offers patients, as well as in her expertise in screening for oral cancer and obstructive sleep apnea. Throughout her schooling and dental career, she has also been committed to addressing the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. Dr. Magid Katz has been featured in Teen Vogue, Vice, Parent Magazine. Dentistry Today, Social Life Magazine, WAG Magazine, Fox 5 NY, and numerous media outlets.  


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  • Advanced Dentistry of Westchester
  • Kenneth S. Magid, DDS, FICD
  • Sabrina Magid-Katz, DMD
  • 163 Halstead Ave. • Harrison, NY 10528
  • (914) 835-0542

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