Manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush, small head or large head, hard bristles or soft bristles: When it comes to picking out a toothbrush, the options seem unlimited.
However, there are certain characteristics to look for in a toothbrush to make sure that you’re getting the right one for each person in your family.
For good oral hygiene, it’s important for your baby to get used to the routine and feeling of brushing teeth. Even before your baby gets his or her first tooth, you can care for his or her gums by using a moist washcloth or piece of gauze to wipe your baby’s gums twice a day.
The best time to do this is after a feeding and right before bed so that you remove any bacteria that could be lingering on the gums. Once your baby starts getting teeth, choose a toothbrush that has a small head, soft bristles, and a large handle. At first, you don’t have to use toothpaste. Simply brush your baby’s teeth with a wet toothbrush.
The toothbrush you use for a baby is still appropriate for toddlers. By the time your child is 2, he or she probably wants to help brush his or her own teeth, and a large handle can help your child grasp the brush. However, toddlers don’t have the control to brush their teeth effectively by themselves. Therefore, it’s best if you give your child the opportunity to brush his or her teeth first before you take over and finish the job.
This is also a good time to start using toothpaste. Children younger than 2 should get just a smear of fluoride toothpaste when brushing their teeth twice a day, and children between 3 and 6 years old should get a pea-size dollop of toothpaste.
Make sure you continue to supervise your children as they brush their teeth until they’re around 6 years old and can handle rinsing and spitting without help. Since your child now has a better grip and better control, this is also the age when you’ll be able to purchase a toothbrush with a slimmer handle, although you’ll still want to stick with a small head and soft bristle. Many manufacturers base children’s toothbrushes on popular cartoon characters, so you can look for one of your child’s favorites to keep him or her interested in brushing.
By the time your children are 8 and older, they can handle brushing their teeth without assistance. At this point, their toothbrush will look similar to an adult’s toothbrush, although they’ll still have slightly larger handles and smaller heads. This is also the age when you can consider getting your child an electric toothbrush.
Teens and Adults
Teens and adults should select a toothbrush that has a rounded head and soft nylon bristles. Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, it’s important to replace your brush every three to four months or before the bristles become frayed or splayed.
Whether for babies to adults, you can get the best toothbrush for your entire family by following these guidelines.
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