For kids who don’t enjoy brushing their teeth, electric toothbrushes can take away the manual labor and make the process more fun. “Kids’ manual dexterity is not fully developed until they are older, so it is difficult for young children to be able to brush properly,” says dentistry practitioner Camile Little, D.D.S. While the American Dental Association (ADA) says “both manual and powered toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque,” Dr. Little explains that electric toothbrushes can remove more plaque and food debris than manual toothbrushes might, and (perhaps most helpful of all) the built-in two-minute timers help ensure kids brush long enough.
Electric toothbrushes are also an easy solution for when challenges like braces get in the way — a helpful benefit for teenagers. “Brackets, elastics, and wires can make brushing a little tricky, and inadequate brushing while wearing braces can result in tooth decay or gum tissue inflammation,” says board certified pediatric dentist Mallory Marquie, D.D.S. She says that’s why electric toothbrushes are a no-brainer for kids and teens, as they can be extremely helpful in keeping these issues at bay.
At what age can a child use an electric toothbrush?
Both Dr. Little and Dr. Marquie say that children can start at 3 years old, with adult supervision and after consulting with a trusted dentist. “Kids can brush their gums too hard that can cause sore spots or gum recession,” explains Dr. Little, “so it’s helpful to have an adult around to prevent that.” But to this point, Dr. Marquie adds that fortunately, a lot of electric toothbrushes include a pressure sensor that alerts the user if they’re brushing too aggressively.
Also, you don’t have to fret about getting an electric toothbrush specifically marketed to kids. “Kids can use the same toothbrush as adults, they’re virtually the same,” says Michael De Poto, D.D.S. of Allwood Family Dentistry. He adds that kids’ toothbrushes just happen to be smaller, which might better fit in kids’ mouths, and usually feature fun and inviting designs.
The Good Housekeeping Institute has evaluated electric toothbrushes throughout the years, looking at factors like performance, ease of use, durability, and customer satisfaction. “Some things we consider are battery life, or the simple notion of comfort, taking the head on or off, or how easy it is to clean the toothbrush,” says GH Institute Chief Technologist, Rachel Rothman. See below for the best electric toothbrushes for kids from reputable brands like Oral-B, Philips and Colgate, as recommended by dentists or handpicked by GH pros. Some come with interactive coaching apps and built-in timers, and all come in bright colors or popular character styles for a more enjoyable (and less challenging) nighttime routine.
Power Toothbrush for Kids
Dentists recommend this Philips Sonicare toothbrush — even Dr. Little’s daughter uses it! Dr. Marquie loves the fact that the toothbrush is compatible with both a compact and standard size brush head, making it an ideal choice for growing kids. “It even links to a fun and instructional app, which logs the user’s…