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Is an Electric Toothbrush for Kids Right for My Child?

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Anything that boosts your child's interest in oral care can be helpful in preventing plaque and cavities. An electric toothbrush for kids may be the answer for a child who doesn't like to brush.

Should My Child Use an Electric Toothbrush?

Using an electric toothbrush has many advantages. The American Dental Association states that both manual and electric toothbrushes can be equally effective at fighting plaque and gum disease. However, for children who are reluctant brushers or have difficulty brushing with a manual brush, an electric brush may be easier or more comfortable to use. If you are unsure which brush is best for your child, discuss it with your dentist at your next dental exam.

In addition to keeping your child's teeth clean, a childrens' toothbrush has some fun perks. Many powered brushes come in a variety of character-themed styles which can entice children to practice good oral health care.

How to Pick the Right Toothbrush

As with a standard brush, it is important to select the right size and style for your child. Be sure to select an electric toothbrush with a child-sized head so that it fits properly in your child's mouth and can reach all the way to the back teeth comfortably. For younger children and toddlers, be sure to select soft bristles, which are gentler on gums and especially recommended if your little one is still cutting new teeth.

Another important contributor to successful brushing is letting your child select the brush. For children who are reluctant brushers, picking their own brush will empower them in the process. You may even want to keep more than one brush available at home so that they can decide between them each brushing session.

Proper Technique Is Key

Remember that an electric toothbrush cannot do all the work on its own. You will still need to help your child practice proper brushing technique to prevent cavities. Show your child how to place the brush at a 45 degree angle toward the gumline. Even with the movement of the powered brush, your child will still need to move the brush back and forth against the teeth and gums using short, gentle strokes.

Proper maintenance of a manual and an electric toothbrush is identical except for the need to charge the latter. Rinse your child's brush well after each use, and store it upright. Replace toothbrushes every three months and after a cold, flu or other infection throw that toothbrush out immediately. A child's toothbrush often needs to be replaced more frequently than an adult's brush, especially if your child has a tendency to chew on the brush.