The toddler timeline of oral hygiene is certainly one that is fast-paced. Dentists recommend regular brushing as soon as your little one gets their first tooth, and flossing right when their teeth start to touch. Helping your toddler develop proper oral hygiene habits is half of the battle, and the other half is finding the perfect toothbrush to suit their needs.

You know your toddler’s needs and preferences best, but there are some universal suggestions to keep in mind when choosing their next toothbrush.

Here are some tips to help you choose:

1) Make sure that the toothbrush bristles are soft and round

Purchasing a toothbrush with soft bristles is essential in the protection of your child’s tooth enamel, gums, and root surfaces. It isn’t uncommon for toddlers to brush too hard when they’re first learning how to successfully brush their teeth. Brushing too aggressively with hard or medium bristles can be too abrasive on anyone’s gums, especially when it comes to toddlers.

It is also important to buy a toothbrush that has what are called, “end-rounded” bristles. End-rounded bristles are smoothed out during the manufacturing process in order to provide a more gentle brushing experience. These end-rounded bristles will provide more of a light impact, even when your toddler brushes too aggressively.

2) Look for an easy-to-grip handle

Toddlers are typically at a stage where they are just developing their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are used during the brushing process because of the need to pick up the toothbrush and maintain a grip during brushing. There are many toddler-friendly toothbrush varieties that come with widened handles with easy grip material. When looking over any toothbrush review, be on the lookout for mentions of how easy the product is to grip.

3) Be sure it’s the right size for your toddler

It is of course no surprise that toothbrushes are not one size fits all due to every toddler’s mouth varying in size. If you’re unsure as to which size to choose, it may be wise to just default to a smaller toothbrush brand. Most toothbrushes that are specifically designed for toddlers are flexible in nature, allowing them to reach their two-year molars with their small and flexible designs.

4) Pick a design that makes brushing fun

Oral companies generally offer both toothbrushes and toothpastes in a wide range of themes to accommodate almost any child’s interests.

By purchasing a toothbrush that has your child’s favourite character on it, you may find that they will be really keen to brush their teeth.

5) The big question: Manual or an electric toothbrush

Many parents find themselves wondering if a manual or electric toothbrush would be more beneficial to their toddler’s oral health. Both manual and electric toothbrushes can provide the same level of cleanliness, but they do differ in some areas. Electric toothbrushes can create even more enthusiasm in your child when it comes to brushing their teeth by playing music while they brush. Some are even made to play music for the recommended amount of time needed to properly brush. Electric toothbrushes do, however, require more time due to the fact that they are meant to clean each individual tooth independently. Both types of toothbrushes can provide adequate levels of cleanliness, so it boils down to whatever you think will work best for your toddler.

Toddlers aren’t usually super enthused when it comes to being active participants with their oral health, but choosing the right toothbrush for them will indefinitely increase their motivation to do so.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential in keeping your child’s smile happy and healthy, and these tips are sure to make this task much more effective and toddler-friendly.

What works best for your child? Do you have any tips to share in the comments below?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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  • Once I started using an electric toothbrush for myself I was stunned at how much better they are then manual. I wish I had known this when my kids were little.


  • A couple of brands of good toothbrushes for babies/toddlers have the age range printed on the packaging.


  • My little one has a soft manual Mickey Mouse one.


  • Great tips. We’ve tried all of the above. A cute dinosaur electric toothbrush was a hit for a little while, as was the Power Rangers themed brush. We’ve tried it all to see what works best, and they’ve all done their bit for a while.


  • I’ve heard there’s a brushing your teeth app which can also help make it fun. These are solid tips though!


  • A good article. Choosing the right toothbrush will make such a difference to children’s willingness to maintain dental hygiene.


  • Start with soft brush with pretty handle were the best move for the little ones with us :)
    Never thought to give them electric toothbrush until they are teenagers.


  • We’ve always used just manual tooth brushes. one of my foster kids had 10 teeth removed and I bought her an electrical tooth brush shortly after to make her feel special and try to encourage her to take extra care. However electrical toothbrushes run out of battery etc. so we’re back to manual. For my toddler with Down Syndrome I have a toothbrush with a circle handle for easy hand grip. I’ve brushed her teeth before she had one and we always sing a toothbrush-song before and during brushing. She loves to chump down on the brush and I have to put a finger between her jaws to get the brush in between (and get bitten regularly). After brushing her teeth she always can have a go herself, which she loves and sometimes I let her “brush” my teeth ;)


  • Great tips, thanks. We use manual & depening on the day it’s a princess or barbie one :)


  • We sometimes play songs off the internet that promote teeth brushing whilst brushing teeth. A good one is Elmo.


  • When my twins first started brushing their own teeth (2yr old independence!) the brush that worked best had a circle type handle with a hole in the middle. Easy grip & i could help. Now they mostly happily use a toothbrush thats soft, they’re grip is much better and honestly they’re more concerned with whats on the toothpaste tube than the brush!


  • I’ve found my kids happily use a manual toothbrush. Haven’t had a problem finding one for each of them because they have a decent selection of age appropriate ones in the supermarket. The only battle is getting to them to brush properly.


  • I always look at something that is simple, no bells and whistles so they are not detracted from actually brushing their teeth


  • My daughter has used an electric toothbrush, but prefers a manual one. I understand parents should help their children brush their teeth until they are about 10 years of age.


  • My daughter started with manual brushes. We moved to the electric one when she was around 10 years old.


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