Dentists recommend that children use manual toothbrushes until around the age of 8 – 10, to allow them to master the brushing technique, before moving on to powered toothbrushes.
Additionally, powered brushes need to be used carefully to ensure gums are not irritated, over time powered brushing can easily irritate gums and cause receding gums. For this reason, full awareness needs to be exercised when using this technology.
Powered brushing is superior compared to manual brushing in terms of performance, but for the reasons outlined can be too effective. It’s also possible to combine the two methods, either on a daily or weekly basis. For example manual brushing can be used in the mornings, and powered brushing in the evenings, when there is more food and bacteria to clean off the surfaces of your teeth.
If a powered toothbrush is used for a child, it should be a specific toothbrush designed for children, or a toothbrush with a small brush head, not a full adult sized brush head. Brush heads should also be replaced as per directions, every 1, 2 or 3 months. In the meantime they should be rinsed after each use and allowed to air dry. They can also be rinsed with mouth wash for superior cleaning, and brush heads can also be disinfected using a UV cleaner provided by the manufacturer. Brushes should always be allowed to air dry, to ensure bacteria is not encouraged. Covers should only be used on dry toothbrushes, or temporarily for example when travelling.
When choosing a toothbrush you should look at the styles and designs available, and the range and costs of replacement brush heads. You should also look at the power options and types of chargers which come with the brushes.
Powered options are also available for flossing and interdental cleaning, this includes water and air flossers however these are strong and require careful use, for this reason they are unsuitable for children and should only be used by adults on their own teeth and gums.
The importance of twice daily brushing cannot be underestimated, and is vital to maintain your child’s dental health. Scheduling and attending regular dental checkups is also vital. These should be scheduled every 6 – 12 months as advised by your dentist.
Your dentist will also be able to evaluate your child’s toothbrushing efforts and advise on areas and techniques to focus on if necessary. For older children and adults, hygiene appointments can also be scheduled for cleanings, these can also be done every 6 – 12 months as required.
Your dentist will be able to demonstrate the correct brushing technique, to ensure your child is brushing correctly and effectively. A smile is an asset and an effective daily routine can enhance and maintain your child’s smile. Some parents also set up rewards for daily brushing, although these should not be any sweet or sugary treats.
Contact your dentist for advice and recommendations on family dental care. Your dentist will be pleased to help and can also provide free samples for toothpaste, mouth washes and other dental products.