Weighing The Pros & Cons of Electric Toothbrushes for Children

January 26, 2016

As a parent, I’m well-versed in the trials of getting a child to practice good oral hygiene. Yes, even an orthodontist can struggle with this. You are certainly not alone. We’ll try any number of methods to make brushing appeal to our children, and marketers know this. That’s why you can walk into just about any major pharmacy these days and see electric toothbrushes that do any of the following:

  • Light up in vibrant colors
  • Chime with music, playing simple tunes like nursery rhymes or licensed music like the theme to Star Wars
  • Decorated with popular cartoon characters that the children will recognize

But does this work?

For the most part, yes it does. Saying, “It’s Mickey Mouse time” referring to a toothbrush that plays a Disney song is more likely to get your child excited about brushing than “time to brush your teeth”.  To make a healthy activity become a daily habit is worth considering, especially since those habits are in our best interest and really shouldn’t be thought of as a chore.

Electric toothbrushes can also provide the added benefit of making your child comfortable at the dentist’s office. Since they’re introduced to electric devices for oral care at a young age, there’s a better chance the equipment won’t seem so foreign and intimidating. When the dentist starts up the oral irrigator to clean their teeth, the similar “whirling” sound buzzes and they’re reminded it sounds just like their toothbrush.  It’s all there to help, for their benefit.

But fair is fair, and we should discuss the possible downsides as well:

  • Electric toothbrushes may not provide a more thorough of a cleaning than proper technique with standard ones.
  • Electric toothbrushes may not give your child the training needed to properly work a manual toothbrush.
  • Some children may shy away from the motorized “whirling” sound of electric toothbrushes, finding it distracting or intimidating.
  • No amount of cartoon characters, fun music or lights can make every child excited to brush their teeth. For some it will work; others, not-so-much.

Whether or not you feel electric toothbrushes will help with teaching your child good oral hygiene is for you to decide, but it never hurts to do some research and be better equipped to make an informed decision. If you’d like to know more, please feel free to contact us during our office hours. We at Maple Orthodontics are committed to helping you and your family maintain good oral health and a winning smile.

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