Things To Consider When Buying Electric Toothbrushes for Kids

Things To Consider When Buying Electric Toothbrushes for Kids

 Electric Toothbrushes for Kids

1. Age appropriateness of the electric toothbrush

Not all electric toothbrushes are alike. Some are clearly designed for use starting at a very young age (think 2 and older), while other models are more a mirror to their adult counterparts with longer handles, larger brush heads, and faster vibrations. Some of those more sophisticated features may be too overwhelming (or simply too big) for young children, and these factors should be considered prior to purchase.

Young toddlers and kids will appreciate smaller hands covered in grip-friendly or waterproof materials like silicone, and smaller brush heads to comfortably fit into their petite mouths. They’re also more likely to appreciate fun character design options than older kids and tweens. Many kids' electric toothbrushes also come with various intensity modes, which is a smart option for growing with your kids. They can start out on the extra gentle/sensitive modes, then switch to the regular modes as they grow more comfortable with the vibrations and oscillations.

2. Size and shape of the brush head

When we think of toothbrush heads, we generally envision the long oval shape that most adult toothbrushes tend to have, but that’s definitely not the only option out there in terms of kids’ electric toothbrushes. Smaller, circular-shaped heads tend to be better for older kids with braces or other orthodontic devices they may have to brush around as they’re able to better get into the small crevices in between brackets and wires, and are more easily maneuverable in tight spaces.

Younger kids who are still getting used to tooth brushing may be put off by a large or “average”-size head and require a smaller transition head, which many brands, as well as third-party manufacturers, sell as well.

3. Softness of bristles

While adults may be used to stiffer bristles, many kids are still sensitive to bristle feel, especially if they’re just getting used to brushing their teeth independently. Parents should look for toothbrushes that come with various head options with different bristle feels, and some electric toothbrush brands even sell replacement heads with extra soft bristles for little or sensitive teeth.

4. Ease of use and grip for small hands

When shopping for an electric toothbrush for kids, parents may notice that the handles come in various lengths and shapes. Generally, shorter, chunkier handles are easier for little hands to grab (and hang) onto, while older kids may prefer slimmer, elongated handles that more closely resemble the ones they’ve seen the adults in their life have.

Many electric toothbrushes designed for younger kids are also wrapped in grippable materials like silicone or have bumps on the wrap to make it less slippery for little wet hands. Some are even in shorter ergonomic shapes rather than just a long slim column to really make it toddler-friendly.

5. Timer feature for adequate brushing duration

Considering that the average child only brushes their teeth for 30 seconds, looking for a built-in timer when shopping for a kids’ electric toothbrush makes a lot of sense. Some electric toothbrushes come with both a built-in timer and connectivity to an app that also features a fun visual timer, which may be extra motivating for some kids. More budget picks may not include a timer, which is fine when it's meant for travel or temporary use, but may not be as effective in the long run at promoting good oral hygiene habits.

According to pediatric dentist Dr. Amy Monti, “The optimal brushing time would be two minutes — which can feel like an eternity for a child. Electric toothbrushes with a timer can encourage children to stay with it for a bit longer.” She reminds parents to not be discouraged if their child can’t reach the full two minutes right away and encourages them to “work up [to two minutes] slowly and consistently.”

 the Best Electric Toothbrushes for Kids

At U.S. News 360 Reviews, we want to help parents find the best products for their needs. When selecting the best electric toothbrushes for kids, we considered price points, features, longevity, and parent reviews. The writer of this story is a parent of three and has used and tested a dozen kids' electric toothbrushes, including many of the ones in this story.

We also spoke with pediatric dentist Dr. Amy Monti, D.D.S., who offered her expert insight into what features parents should consider when shopping for a kids’ electric toothbrush. We considered all of these factors to narrow down our search to find the best electric toothbrushes for kids.


Esther Carlstone, the author of this piece, has been researching, writing, and editing stories in the parenting media space since 2015. Her expertise includes baby gear, kids products, toys, and home and travel products, and she has tested top accessories in their categories. For U.S. News 360 Reviews, she’s covered a range of the best products for kids, including best play kitchens and best baby toy subscription boxes. Carlstone is a mom of three and understands the need for other parents to find quality products that fit into their budget and meet their needs without having to spend days scouring the internet. Megan Wood is U.S. News 360 Reviews Senior Editor, focusing on baby gear, a role that perfectly combines her decade of product review and editorial testing experience with her love of obsessively helping parents find the right products for their families.


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