Should Kids Use An Electric Toothbrush?

girl in white tank top holding green plastic spoon

Should my child use an electric toothbrush? When should I start? Does it clean better? Do you (parents) prefer using an electric toothbrush?

In my experience, a manual toothbrush can remove plaque and food debris just as well as an electric toothbrush – it is the brush-er that makes the biggest difference! However, an electric toothbrush can be really effective in a couple of scenarios:

(1) Really stubborn and adherent plaque
Some kids are “high plaque-formers”. Dirt accumulates quickly even after brushing and they tend to have sticky, orange-coloured bacterial deposits all along the neck of the tooth ( at the gumline ). Scrubbing with an electric toothbrush does help clean this stubborn plaque more thoroughly

(2) Learning to brush on their own
I like to guide kids towards independent brushing around 6+ years old. At this age, they may still be mastering the skills of brushing and gaining manual dexterity – an electric brush can be really useful here!

(3) Learning to cope at the dentist

Many kids struggle with hair clippers (sounds and vibrations!) or find loud noises unpleasant (eg. run away when the vacuum comes on). If so, I encourage kids as young as 3 years old (sometimes younger!) to get an electric toothbrush for familiarisation. The daily use of a toothbrush that brushes with vibrations and sounds can get them used to the polishing tools that we use to sparkle up their teeth on the dental chair!

At the end, some parents do have a preference for an electric toothbrush! ME? I’m just happy if kids are having their teeth thoroughly brushed at least twice a day, especially before bed (make sure it’s after the last milk feed / supper!)

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