Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which Is Right for Your Child?
The daily struggle to get your kids to brush their teeth can become a little tiresome. As a parent, however, it’s important to keep your kids committed to their daily oral health regime. It plays an important role in their overall health and it’s something they will have to manage every day for the rest of their life. By teaching them the importance of oral care at an early age, they will enjoy a healthy smile, teeth, and gums for life.
That said, what’s a parent to do to improve a child’s oral health? Choosing the right toothbrush is a good place to start. Here’s our advice on which type of toothbrush is best for kids, and some tips to keep your kids brushing.
Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes
A big benefit of the electric toothbrush is kids think they’re fun. Instead of the boring manual toothbrush, they get to power it up. It makes a noise, creates a tingling sensation while they brush, and adds a tech element that kids love.
However, there are also significant health benefits to note. The electric toothbrush has a more powerful rotation and stroke action that makes them more efficient at brushing and removing that pesky plaque. The electric toothbrush also mimics the rotation and oscillation actions of the tools used to polish teeth at our dental office.
Three more reasons to go electric:
- If your child tends to brush too hard, you can get a pressure alarm that goes off when they are being too aggressive
- Electric toothbrushes have a two-minute timer to make sure your child is brushing long enough
- Some smart-brushes can detect which areas of the mouth you’re missing and guide you to a more complete clean
Benefits of Manual Toothbrushes
Manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as electric toothbrushes when used properly. We recommend using a soft bristle brush to remove plaque and keep teeth clean.
Some parents might also find that their kids are not fans of the noisier, vibrating electric toothbrush. This might turn them off from brushing. The powered motion might also be irritating and even cause their gums to bleed.
The key to good brushing is having the right toothbrush and method. When choosing a manual toothbrush, we recommend that you choose an age-appropriate toothbrush designed specifically for children. You can also look for crisscrossed bristles, rounded tips, and as mentioned, soft bristles. All of these features will make cleaning easier and more comfortable for your child.
Two reasons to go manual:
- Your child might be afraid of the vibration and noise of an electric toothbrush
- Your child might have bleeding gums from an electric toothbrush
Tips to Encourage Brushing
Although the choice between manual and electric is completely up to you, you might still face the challenges of the reluctant brusher. First and foremost, allow your child to choose the toothbrush they prefer to make it as comfortable for them as possible. Then use these handy tips to encourage them to brush:
1. Two minutes and Time-it
Adding an element of fun to brushing can do wonders for kids. They will actually look forward to brushing if they associate it with a fun game. The ideal brushing time is two minutes, and a great way to make sure this is happening is to use a timer. Set your phone alarm and get brushing. There are also some tooth brushing apps with timers. Electric brushes will simply turn off at the two-minute mark.
2. Include music
Playing your kids’ favourite songs during brushing time can make it feel like they’re invited to a two-minute dance party. Blare the music and dance and brush.
3. Stick to a routine
Kids are creatures of habit. If you set a routine where they know it will be time to brush at a certain time in the morning and again at night, it becomes a habit. They might even start reminding you it’s time to brush.
4. Use rewards
For the truly reluctant child, a reward system can help. Avoid giving them snacks as a reward, as this is counterproductive. Instead, think of things your child will enjoy such as a rewards magnet on the fridge, a chart with a sticker, or an extra bedtime story. And don’t forget to tell your child how well they have done with a hug. This goes a long way in rewarding good behaviour.
5. Read toothbrushing books
There are plenty of books out there that will show kids that brushing is fun. The sooner you engage them with stories of brushing, the more comfortable they will feel about it.
6. Let them choose
Kids feel more responsible when they are involved. Go shopping for a toothbrush and toothpaste. They can choose the one that appeals to them to make brushing more fun. Let them try different flavours of toothpaste as well until they find one they really like.
7. Have a brushing party
Have the whole family brush their teeth together. This makes it a family affair while teaching your children you brush too. Since they learn by example, this reinforces the importance of brushing.
At the end of the day, both regular and electric toothbrushes are effective. It all boils down to personal choice and which toothbrush your child will be more likely to want to use, and use properly.