Toothbrush & Toothpaste Timeline for Children
You may be wondering what size toothbrush is most appropriate for your child to use based on their age. Though each child is different and their oral development is unique, we’ll walk you through which toothbrush your child should use as they grow up and how much toothpaste to use!
0-3 Years Old: Finger Slip or Infant Toothbrushes for Babies
There are several options parents can consider when choosing a toothbrush for their baby or toddler between the ages of 0 to 3 years old. One option many pediatric dentists recommend is a finger slip toothbrush. This baby-friendly toothbrush made of textured silicone is a great way to remove any sugar or milk build-up on your child’s gums and is easy to use. This is a more practical alternative to wiping down your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth.
Slip the toothbrush over your index finger. It should fit snugly. We recommend brushing much more frequently at this age, ideally after each feeding. Doing so will prevent bacterial growth from occurring before your child’s teeth come in. Be sure to clean your baby’s toothbrush after each use. Some baby toothbrushes even come with a case for safe storage when you’re done brushing.
You don’t need to use toothpaste until their first tooth erupts! When their first tooth emerges, use a rice-sized amount of toothpaste. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste after their third birthday!
3-5 Years Old: Kid-Sized Toothbrush
You know they’re growing up fast when it’s officially time to buy a big-kid toothbrush! These toothbrushes look just like adult-sized toothbrushes but are smaller so they can fit in little hands more easily. We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush while they’re still in the early stages of getting used to brushing their teeth. Soft bristles are gentle on the gums and still get the job done in a more kid-friendly manner.
We always recommend that children be fully supervised while brushing until the age of 8 to ensure that they’re doing it properly. A good rule of thumb is that until they can tie their own shoes, an adult should supervise and assist as needed.
6-9 Years Old: Kid-Sized Toothbrush or Electric Toothbrush
Once they’re old enough to understand the importance of brushing and the basics of using proper technique, it may be appropriate to introduce an electric toothbrush to your child. This can be a great way to get them excited about brushing twice a day if they need some extra motivation.
Whether your child loves princesses, puppies, or superheroes, you can find an electric toothbrush that will make brushing twice a day more enjoyable for kids. By adding the fun elements of sounds, lights, or characters, your kids may actually look forward to brushing their teeth. If you want to keep it simple and continue using a kid-sized manual toothbrush instead of making the switch to an electric toothbrush, they both will do the trick!
10 Years and Older: Adult Toothbrush or Electric Toothbrush
Every child is different, but around the age of 10 years old, your child’s mouth should be large enough for an adult toothbrush to fit comfortably. An electric toothbrush is also a great alternative if your child builds up plaque easily or if there are visible stains on their teeth. In addition to an appropriately sized toothbrush, make sure that floss, mouthwash, and toothpaste with fluoride are in supply.
We hope that this toothbrush timeline was helpful to break down what size toothbrushes are appropriate for your child at each stage as they grow!
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