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Kids seem to hate brushing their teeth just as much as having them pulled. Parents understand the battle just to get kids to brush their teeth the recommended amount of times every day, let alone to brush them well. Even with reward systems, making a game of it, begging, and pleading our kids to brush well, they still show up to the dentist with cavities, plaque, and all the maladies dentists hate. So what can we do to help our kids take better care of their teeth?
There’s a handful of creative solutions, but one good solution might to be to get your kid an electric toothbrush. These brushes clean better, are easier to use, and could help your kid or kids enjoy brushing their teeth more. First we’ll take a look at the best features to look for and then we’ll list our top options for the best electric toothbrush for kids.
The Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes
So why even use an electric toothbrush? Don’t manual brushes clean just fine? Well, yes, they do. When used properly, a manual brush will clean your teeth just as well as an electric brush will. But that’s the catch: when used properly. The reality is that many people don’t brush correctly. Proper brushing technique is as follows:
- Position your brush at a 45 degree angle with the bristles pointed towards the gums (so, up for the top teeth and down for the bottom teeth).
- Brush with a circular, back-and-forth motion, using short strokes. Only apply slight pressure with the brush; do not brush too vigorously.
- Brush the front, back, and top/bottom of each tooth.
- Brush for 2 minutes, spending about 30 seconds on each quadrant of your teeth.
But many people don’t brush this way, and how many kids know to brush this way? Many kids simply brush side-to-side for 30 seconds, failing to properly remove tooth-killing plaque, tartar, and bacteria. It takes time and proper brush-strokes to get the bacteria off your teeth.
This is where electric toothbrushes come in handy: they reduce the user-error that can render manual brushes useless. Electric toothbrushes work by moving the head of the brush in a circular motion, mimicking the proper brushing technique that manual users ought to use.
It’s much easier for kids to brush properly with an electric toothbrush than a manual brush since there’s less room for error. All kids really have to do is to remember to hold the brush at an angle so that it cleans the whole tooth and to brush the front, back and top/bottom of their teeth.
Some electric toothbrushes also come with the added benefit of having a self-timing mechanism. These features allow the brush to keep track of time, ensuring that your kids are brushing for the proper length of time. It doesn’t matter how good your technique is if you aren’t brushing long enough. On the flip side, brushing too long can damage your gums and enamel, leading to a myriad of other dental problems
What to Look for in an Electric Toothbrush
So what should you be looking for? There are a few things that you should have in a good electric toothbrush. For one, make sure you get a brush with a rechargeable battery. A vast majority of brushes are probably rechargeable already, but some lower-end models might require replacing the batteries. A rechargeable battery saves you a lot of hassle since you can just plug the brush in whenever it needs a charge.
As far as the “type” of electric toothbrush you should get (e.g. rotating, oscillating, sonic, ultrasonic, etc.), that depends on your budget. Ultrasonic brushes are probably the best, but they’re also more on the expensive side. Rotating brushes, on the flip side, might not clean as well as ultrasonic brushes, but they’re more affordable. Also consider that some brush heads don’t need to be replaced as often as others, so you need to factor the cost of replacement heads into the overall cost of the brush.
There are some other amenities that, though not essential, make for a better, more effective brushing experience. A grip on your brush makes it easier and more comfortable to hold. Some brushes come with timers on them, which help ensure that you brush for the correct amount of time. Some of these timers just count out two minutes, but others even remind you every 30 seconds to move to the next quadrant in your mouth.
Best Toothbrushes For Your Kids
So considering all of the above, here are the best brushes to get your kids during the Holidays:
The Sonicare Essence+ is a no frills, straightforward toothbrush. It doesn’t come with bluetooth connectivity, multiple brushing modes or any crazy features, but that doesn’t matter.
The big draw to this electric toothbrush is that it has what’s called ‘no contact’ brushing. This means that the bristles move your saliva around fast enough that it pulls plaque and germs away from your teeth without even touching them. That’s the big draw to electric toothbrushes in the first place and the Essence+ will achieve that for a pretty small price.
Another important feature you’ll find with the Essence+ is the timer. Getting your kids to clean their teeth is tough enough, but getting them to clean for a full 2 minutes can be an impossible task. With the timer, you don’t have to worry about getting out your stopwatch or smartphone – just have them turn it on and brush until it turns off.
The best part about the Essence+ is the price. It’s cheaper than nearly every other toothbrush out there. Sure, you don’t get the fancier features but that’s just fine. It’ll keep your kids’ teeth clean for a lot less money.
The Sonicare Essence+ usually retails for around $35.
This product isn’t just a brush: it’s practically a DIY dentist. The Complete Care kit includes an electric toothbrush, water flosser, and charging station.
The water flosser, AKA dental irrigator, uses a high-pressure stream of water to remove food debris from between teeth. It works much like dental floss; it just uses water instead of nylon. Dental irrigators are gentler on your gums than dental floss, allowing you to keep the spaces between your teeth clean without damaging your gums. The Complete Care kit comes with a water reservoir that can be refilled from the sink, which fuels the water flosser. The water flosser is especially good for kids with braces since the water more easily cleans between brackets and wires.
Now to the brush itself. The brush uses a sonic head to clean. Like the brush above, this head can clean up to five times as much plaque as a manual brush. The head is replaceable, and a 3-pack of replacement heads will run about $20. The brush includes a two-minute timer with 30-second reminders. This brush also has dual speed control, allowing the brush to brush slower or faster depending on your needs.
The Waterpik Complete Care kit retails for between $70 and $100.
Sometimes a toothbrush for kids is less about cleaning teeth and more about getting your kids excited about using it. That’s where the Philips Sonicare for Kids really shines. Functionally, you’ll find it on par with the Essence+, but it brings a few fun tricks to the table otherwise.
First is the exterior. The Sonicare for Kids toothbrush comes with 8 interchangable stickers that make the toothbrush brighter and more fun. This is simple, yes, but having a toothbrush that’s fun and exciting can really make a bit difference.
The second big draw here is the bluetooth connectivity and app. Normally I’d laugh this off as a useless novelty, but when it come to kids I’ll sing a different tune. Kids love technology and being able to connect their toothbrush to their phone will probably get them really amped up about brushing. The app itself is also effective at tracking their progress and rewarding them for building good habits.
If you’re having a tough time getting your kids to form healthy habits around brushing, this is definitely the best electric toothbrush to go with. The Philips Sonicare for Kids retails for about $40-$50.
The Sonicare Diamondclean toothbrush can be a little intimidating at first, but it is an excellent brush with many amenities. This brush is one of the most powerful brushes on the market, cleaning up to seven times as well as a manual brush. This brush also functions in five different cleaning modes to provide you with just the kind of clean you need. These five modes are:
- Clean: Your typical cleaning mode. This mode is designed to remove as much plaque as possible from the surface of your teeth.
- Gum Care: This mode is made to stimulate your gums and clean them without damaging them. Stimulating your gums increases blood flow, which helps them stay healthy and strong.
- Polish: Designed to buff your teeth to give them a nice sheen.
- Sensitive: This mode cleans teeth and gum that are particularly sensitive. Tooth sensitivity can be extremely painful, so this mode will give you some respite from the uncomfortable sensation you may be getting when you brush.
- White: This mode is made to remove as much surface staining as possible, giving you the white smile that everyone wants.
As with the other brushes, this brush comes with a timing system, and it also sports an ergonomic grip to help you hold it easier. The brush also comes with a stylish glass charging station that can also function as a rinsing cup.
The Sonicare Diamondclean toothbrush will cost customers around $150, and replacement heads are about $25 a pack.
Of the five brushes we’ve listed, this one is the best of the best. This brush is the future of toothbrushes, having not just bells and whistles but bells and whistles that are useful. The Oral B Pro 3000 has a rotating brush head to clean each tooth thoroughly, as well as a professional grip to give you the best grip. This brush is designed to be quieter than other brushes, so you’ll be able to hear yourself think while you brush.
What puts this brush above all others is the technological component it brings to the table. This brush is one of the few that can sync up with your phone via a mobile app. Why would anyone want to do that, though? Well, the Oral-B app allows you to set your preferences and track your performance with the brush. If you want to set time reminders or make sure you’re brushing correctly, just log into the app, click a few buttons, and you’re set. If you want to make brushing your teeth fun for your kids, what better way than to get their phones involved? Nothing makes your toothbrush seem cooler than hooking it up to technology.
Another cool feature that this brush offers is a pressure sensor that detects how hard you’re brushing. This brush is designed to alert you when it senses you’re brushing too hard, using a bright red light to get your attention. If you brush too hard, you risk damaging your gums and enamel, but kids might think brushing harder means brushing better. So, this pressure sensor could save you and your family hundreds of dollars in the long run.
The Oral B Pro 3000 brush retails for around $65.
Best Electric Toothbrushes for Kids Wrap Up
So as it turns out, the best electric toothbrush for kids are very similar to the top overall electric toothbrushes overall. These brushes reduce the risk of user error, which is prevalent amongst kids who don’t have the proper knowledge to brush effectively along with getting them excited about brushing. Sure, these brushes cost much more than manual brushes, but you won’t regret your kids having healthier mouths, fewer cavities, and brighter smiles.