Should My Child Be Using an Electric or Manual Toothbrush?

Our Dental Blog | Child Dentistry | 01.13.2020

Brushing our teeth is important. Technique? Even more so.

Luckily, technology hasn’t been far behind in our efforts of achieving healthier smiles. However, with the extra cost involved in electrical toothbrushes, is it worth it to buy one for my child? Are there differences between manual and electric toothbrush results? Is it even recommended for children to use a powered brush?

With all the options being marketed towards adults and children it can be hard to find meaningful advice on the topic of toothbrushes. It can seem as almost ALL the options are favoured by “9 out of 10” dentists.

So, for the sake of clearing up confusing advertising, let’s go through the best toothbrush options for your child and whether you’ll want to use an electric or manual toothbrush!

Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes are manufactured for our benefit. Oscillating, rotating, and vibrating at frequencies quicker than a human hand, these technology-enabled toothbrushes have helped achieve an 11% reduction in plaque and a 6% reduction for gingivitis in the first 1 to 3 months of use.

However, these statistics come with a caveat. Plaque and gingivitis percentage reduction will be dependent on both how well the individual brushed when using a manual brush, and how well they used the powered alternative.

Be that as it may, reports continue to come out as adoption rates increase across the world, giving us greater insight into electronic toothbrush benefits and pitfalls.

As well, toothbrush technology continues to advance. Over the last few years, consumers have been able to purchase toothbrushes that can identify if you’re brushing too hard, can follow and track motion, play music, and can complete several different cleaning functions, from teeth to tongue!

These fantastical options are exciting for most, which can be its own benefit in and of itself! Especially for children, where brushing their teeth steals away from time that could be spent playing.

If you think new features might pique your child’s interest in oral hygiene, take them to the store and let them choose their very own electric toothbrush. Plenty of manufacturers design ones specifically for children that won’t put a burning hole in your wallet.

Benefits of Manual Toothbrush

The dental tool that practically all of us start with: the manual toothbrush. It’s part of all of our households, even if it is just for cleaning your grout.

With that being said, accessibility is one of the greatest benefits of manual toothbrushes. No need for brand-specific brush heads, which your closest store may not stock. No need for batteries. No need for charging. And can be easily transported without having to bring extra components!

With less to purchase, manual brushes are simply less expensive. An electric toothbrush with replaceable heads can easily cost an individual as high as $250. With replacement heads costing more than a multipack of manual brushes, the savings are clearly in favour of the non-electrical counterpart.

Another aspect that parents love about manual brushes is their larger heads. Able to brush multiple teeth at the same time, parents can assist their children more efficiently, if needed.

In terms of cleaning power, studies show that, if used properly, manual toothbrushes can be as effective as electric versions. It is up to the user to pay close attention to their technique to achieve these results, but parents can find comfort in knowing that electric doesn’t necessarily equate to a healthier smile.

Hard Vs. Soft Bristles

When it comes to teaching your tyke to brush, bristle strength will make a world of difference.

Both manual and electric toothbrushes are often used too aggressively – for both children and adults. Soft-bristled brushes help avoid excessive damage to the gums and tooth roots, while still being able to clean plaque, tongue, and gums.

When your children grow up, they choose their own brush stiffness, but whilst learning, we recommend erring on the side of caution. If you notice bristles on your child’s toothbrushes are consistently deformed, chances are that they’re brushing too hard. Offer some instructions to help these mistakes and you and your family will go through fewer toothbrushes.

Which Toothbrush Should My Child Use?

Well, the funny thing is, your brush doesn’t necessarily matter!

The truth of the matter is, parents should use whatever brush that will get their little ones brushing regularly and properly.

Your only job is to be that of a teacher. Ensure that your child is brushing with a technique that is meant for the respective design of toothbrush and preach the importance of twice-daily brushing/flossing.

As mentioned, small head brushes usually found on electric toothbrushes (such as Oral-B’s radial brush heads) are made to be used in a more controlled fashion. Sized to reach one tooth at a time, electric alternatives often require higher amounts of concentration from toddlers.

For this reason, parents with fussy brushers can achieve a quicker and possibly more thorough brushing with the larger heads found on manual toothbrushes.

However, if you’re child has reached an age of independence, let them make their own choice! Not only will your kid be more involved in their oral hygiene, but it will also help them get excited to brush their teeth again!

Is Your Child Falling Behind on Brushing?

If you’re more worried about getting ANY brush into your child’s hand, don’t worry! You’re not alone.

Our Treehouse Pediatric Dentistry staff have seen and heard it all when it comes to stubborn brushers. Luckily, we have the right resources, education, and passion to help your little ones get on track with their dental hygiene.

Don’t wait for your child’s next cavity. Call and book an appointment with Treehouse Dental Care today and start building a healthy future for your children.

Book an Appointment

Your Information
Patient Information
Patient Gender *
Patient Status *
Appointment Information
Reason for Appointment *