You may not think about what you are using to clean your teeth, but this is one item that you should absolutely consider carefully. You don’t use a baby toothbrush because you are immature or anything silly like that. The thing is, these toothbrushes have soft bristles and they are extra gentle so they can easily clean the delicate gums of children who do not yet have back teeth or who have recently lost them.
Of course, there are plenty of people who still choose to use these brushes even though they are no longer babies. They might be seniors who need something special for cleaning their gums without causing pain or discomfort, both young and old might have false teeth that just do not fit well in their mouth unless it has been heavily brushed or is being brushed with a particularly gentle brush.
These brushes are also incredibly popular for use by people who have braces on their teeth. Braces often trap food and even if the eaters spent a lot of time cleaning them, there is no guarantee that they will be able to remove everything. These soft little toothbrushes can do the job without wearing down the wires which hold braces in place while protecting the gums at the same time!
Kids Toothbrush: Best Options for Your Child’s Oral Health
The best baby toothbrushes in the test – in addition, in the comparison: favorable alternatives for an optimal tooth cleaning from the outset.
Around about the 6th month of life, the first milk tooth appears in the offspring. You can start proper dental care right here to teach your child to brush his or her teeth as an important daily routine right from the start.
- If your child gets used to brushing his or her teeth at an early age, it will be easier to maintain a solid and flawless routine later on.
- There are special baby toothbrushes for this purpose, so you can already ensure healthy teeth and good oral hygiene.
I will therefore briefly give you an overview of why dental care is already important for babies and introduce you to other suitable tools in addition to baby toothbrushes.
Should you already be familiar with the topic and are merely looking for suitable variants, you can jump directly to the chapter “Recommended baby toothbrushes & the best alternatives”.
This is why dental care is already important for milk teeth
As a parent, the question that surely comes to your mind is whether dental care for babies and toddlers needs any significant attention at all. After all, baby teeth come and go within a very short period of time
Even if baby teeth fall out sooner or later, proper dental care is still a good idea.
Do you really need to be as concerned about proper dental care here as you do with the later, permanent teeth?
Yes. There are several reasons for this:
- For one, starting early with the right routine ensures that your child learns the importance of brushing his or her teeth every day and gets used to the behavior. As a result, your child will not be grumpy or reluctant to brush later in life and will take the necessary care.
- On the other hand, the milk teeth already have an important role: they are not merely a short-term filler until the real teeth come. They are actively involved in the preparation for the coming teeth and pave the way for them.
The milk teeth provide the structure and shape and serve as a placeholder – They reserve the exact place for the later teeth.
If a milk tooth falls out too early – for example, due to an accident – then the surrounding teeth can grow into the resulting gap. Thus, the future teeth will also grow crooked into the mouth. Misalignments are so already pre-programmed.
Milk teeth are also the target of caries. And if already the milk teeth show an insufficient hygiene, then this will extend later in all probability also to the correct teeth.
Tip: You should start developing a routine for your child as early as the first milk teeth and teach him to brush his teeth in a playful way.
This will turn it from an unpopular chore into a popular leisure activity at an early age, thereby ensuring long-lasting and healthy oral hygiene.
What measures are useful even before the first toothbrush
Even before your baby’s first baby teeth show, you can use a variety of tools to make sure your offspring’s dental care is easier later on
- Take a wet washcloth and gently massage the chewing area with it. This is a nice game for little ones – they will chew on the rag and try to suck out the water.
- You can also use cotton swabs. But be careful even here already: even without little teeth, the little ones can sometimes bite quite hard.
This will get your child used to it at an early age, when mom and dad suddenly go into the mouth and start scrubbing.
Of course, it’s not yet proper dental care, but it can make the transition much easier once the first baby tooth appears.
Recommended baby toothbrushes & the best alternatives
From the first milk tooth, it is time for proper dental care. This will help your baby get used to the routine early and absorb it better. That way, your child won’t cross his or her arms grumpily later on when mom or dad calls for teeth brushing again.
In addition to toothbrushes for your baby, you can also choose other very helpful varieties such as a teething ring.
Since teething causes an uncomfortable itch that makes many children restless, it is important here that you help as much as possible.
To minimize the itching and make it more bearable, there are several remedies that I will explain below.
A teething ring
The teething ring is designed to provide relief for the child during teething. By biting on the ring, it creates a counter-pressure to the penetrating tooth, thus relieving symptoms.
- Promotes the development of your child.
- Extra-soft bristles are gentle on the gums.
- Eases eruption pain.
You can also get special teething rings with toothbrush attachments that not only allow your little one to bite for relief, but also remove dirt and food debris from their teeth at the same time.
The ring shape also means your child can’t swallow the teething ring, and you can let your child play with it without worrying.
Thanks to extra-soft bristles and an adapted shape, the teething ring supports the chewing muscles, protects the gums, and alleviates teething symptoms.
A finger toothbrush
Finger toothbrushes are special silicone toothbrushes that you slip over your finger. The extra-soft bristles massage your child’s gums and promote circulation.
- Well-feeling massage relieves teething symptoms.
- Gently cleanses first teeth and gums.
- Extra-soft silicone provides a comfortable feel.
At the same time, relieve the breakthrough pain that new teeth cause and give your child a sense of security and closeness during this irritating phase.
So you can already clean and care for the first little teeth. In addition, the later transition to toothpaste will be easier.
With the finger toothbrush, I particularly like the fact that here you build up direct contact with the finger and thus greater control over your movements and the pressure on the tooth or gum.
Tip: Simply clean the finger toothbrush with hot water after use. For hygienic reasons, you should replace the toothbrush after 2 – 3 weeks.
The practical 3-pack is sufficient for approximately 2 months. You will also receive a storage box with your purchase.
Greenpecker “Silver Fairy” Fingerling
As an alternative to a finger toothbrush, you can use the Fingerling from Grünspecht. This fingerling is made of silver and thus promises an antibacterial effect.
- Gentle to the gums.
- More pressure control through direct contact with the teeth.
- Remains antibacterial thanks to silver.
Use the Fingerling simply just like a finger toothbrush. The advantage here: you can even apply a small amount of toothpaste.
The Fingerling has two cleaning sides:
- With the smooth side you massage the oral cavity and prevent the pain of teething.
- The soft side is good for the first teeth cleaning.
As soon as the first teeth erupt, use the fingerling to make this phase more comfortable for your child.
Oral B Stage 1
The Oral B Stage 1 is suitable for children aged 4 – 24 months and is probably the first “real toothbrush” you will buy your youngster.
- Child-friendly motifs.
- Small brush head, ideally suited to children’s mouths.
- Soft bristles protect gums and clean sensitive teeth.
The toothbrush is ergonomically adapted to adult hands, because usually you still do the brushing here. With the extra soft bristles, you are gentle on the sensitive gums of children. In addition, the brush head is adapted to the still quite small child’s mouth.
The Oral B Stage 1 thereby represents the first part of a series of toothbrushes specially developed for infants and children. Here you will find a suitable model for every age.
For older children, there are later with the Oral-B Power Stages also electric toothbrush variants. However, electric toothbrushes are not yet suitable for babies and toddlers.
MAM First Brush children’s toothbrush
As an alternative to the Oral-B Stage 1, you can also use the children’s toothbrush from MAM. The toothbrush was awarded as an innovative children’s product by Mother & Baby Magazine back in 2002 and has been leading the ranks ever since without any changes.
- Soft, rounded bristles for gentle brushing.
- Rounded brush head, perfect for babies’ mouths.
- Safety shield makes swallowing impossible.
The toothbrush is suitable for babies from 6 months.
The toothbrush is thereby designed so that your child can not accidentally swallow it. This is because a fixable shield prevents it from entering the throat area.
I also like about the toothbrush the ergonomic handle guide, which allows your child to better imitate you when brushing your teeth. And as we all know, that’s the best way for your child to learn how to brush properly.
While the Oral-B Stage 1 is designed for you to do the brushing for your child, the MAM Children’s Toothbrush provides a first opportunity for youngsters to start brushing completely on their own under supervision.
MAM Training Toothbrush
Like the First Brush model, the MAM Training Toothbrush is suitable for ages 6 months and up.
However, this model has a longer handle. This has the advantage that you can be supportive to the hand, if your child can not yet brush completely independently and you want to help now and then.
- Extended handle allows simultaneous holding for parent and child for better control.
- Safety shield makes swallowing impossible.
- Made with BPA/BPS-free materials.
They help your child make the right movements while still maintaining control and developing their own sense of what’s going on.
Once again, a safety shield is installed on the neck of the toothbrush to prevent accidental entry into the throat.
NUK Dental Care Learning Set
The dental care learning set from the company NUK is suitable for teaching your child how to brush his teeth as part of later dental care, starting with the first little teeth.
- Putzlernstift: A pen provided with ergonomic nubs alleviates concomitant symptoms during teething.
- Cleaning trainer: A toothbrush equipped with rubber flaps, for the first cleaning of the little teeth.
- Safety shield prevents swallowing and can be used as a holder.
While the cleaning learning pen is more suitable as a chewing utensil, it helps your child understand the importance of a toothbrush at an early age and gets them used to putting a toothbrush in their mouth.
The brushing trainer already removes dirt from the first tooth tips and is a very good way to teach your child how to use a “proper toothbrush” later on.
Use the right toothpaste
In addition to the right toothbrush (or the alternatives mentioned), the right toothpaste also plays an important role.
Babies and toddlers often swallow toothpaste, so when buying it, make sure it is free of any potentially dangerous substances. It should also not contain any so-called abrasives.
Info: The abrasives are often added to toothpaste for adults. These are small “grains” that rub all over the place when you brush your teeth to remove plaque.
Babies and young children, however, do not yet have sufficiently thick tooth enamel. The abrasive particles can therefore damage it.
To make brushing more pleasant for children, toothpastes with a child-friendly flavor are recommended. So that the little ones do not simply “eat” the toothpaste, however, you should press it into the bristles when applying it.
NUK toothpaste for babies
The toothpaste from NUK*, specially developed for babies, offers all the important properties for good dental care.
- Fluoride-free toothpaste.
- Contains natural enzymes to strengthen the defenses in the mouth.
- Sugar-free, natural apple-banana flavor.
The toothpaste is ideal for the first months. When you purchase, in addition to the toothpaste, you will also receive a matching finger toothbrush in the set.
Odol-Med 3 milk tooth
Odol-Med 3 also has a toothpaste specially adapted to the needs of young children.
Unlike NUK baby toothpaste, however, Odol-Med 3 Milk Tooth* toothpaste also contains sodium fluoride,
- 500 ppm fluoride protection.
- Protects against tooth decay.
- Gentle to the gums.
Since the fluoride question is often decided at the first visit to the dentist (see below for more info), you should reach for the fluoride-free version of NUK as your first toothpaste, if possible.
ELMEX children’s toothpaste 0 – 6 years
The children’s toothpaste from Elmex* was declared the test winner of Stiftung Warentest in 2015 and offers your child comprehensive protection against caries from the first tooth onwards
- Builds a calcium fluoride top layer.
- Protects teeth from decay-induced mineral breakdown.
- Aids in the recovery of minerals lost due to caries.
Elmex toothpaste advertises a clinically confirmed effectiveness. In any case, the toothpaste is specially designed for children from the first tooth and provides good protection for the developing milk teeth.
More tips: Fluoride prophylaxis
A popular topic among babies and toddlers is the importance (or unimportance) of preventive administration of fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel.
Here, research is divided on whether specific fluoride prophylaxis makes sense, or is more likely to have a detrimental effect.
Fluoride prophylaxis: makes a lot of sense for adults. But whether it also applies to baby teeth is controversial.
Early one got preventive fluoride-containing vitamin D tablets at the first visit to the dentist, which should be given to the child regularly. However, dentists involved in fluoride research recommend that it should be delivered directly to the teeth through toothpaste, rather than absorbed through the blood, as has been the case in the past.
Info: Young children often tend to swallow the toothpaste. With a toothpaste enriched with fluoride, it can then come under certain circumstances to an overdose.
Different studies have come to a wide variety of results.
- Such as the supportive effect of fluoride in caries prophylaxis has long been proven, although the mechanisms behind it are not clearly understood.
- Some studies, however, have found that fluoride in toothpaste only starts to exert its effect at 1000ppm, making children’s toothpastes with the usual 500ppm more likely to be classified as placebo.
I recommend you to discuss the topic of fluoride therefore intensively with the dentist of your confidence, to be able to make the right decision for you and your child here.
Conclusion: Do not do without dental care for babies
Dental care is already an important part of oral hygiene for babies and toddlers from about 3 to 6 months. Even if dental care is not yet directly involved here, the right start paves the way to healthy and long-lasting dental hygiene, from which your child will then benefit well into old age.
- Even before the first teeth show themselves, however, you can promote the development of your child with special utensils. Thus, the unpleasant side effects of teething can be alleviated and the child gets used to what will later be proper tooth brushing.
- With the right toothbrush and a suitable toothpaste equipped, your child will find it easy to start brushing teeth and can learn good dental hygiene.
If your child learns early on that dental care is an important part of the daily routine, then it will be easier to maintain it later. They can also use electric toothbrushes, such as Oral-B Kids Power Stages, from around 3 years old and clean their teeth even more thoroughly.
You can find out more about the topic and how to choose the right toothbrush for kids in a separate post.
Also, read more tips and what to do when your baby’s first teeth come in here.