February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! That’s why it’s a perfect time to make sure you’re doing everything you can as a parent to protect your child’s oral health.
Practicing good oral hygiene is one of the most important skills you can teach your child. Good oral health plays a vital role in maintaining your child’s self-esteem and overall health as they age and grow.
Along with brushing and flossing twice a day for 2 minutes each brush, knowing when to replace their toothbrush is critical for keeping their teeth healthy and strong.
The job of your child’s toothbrush is to remove food particles and bacteria from their teeth, gums, and tongue. When you don’t replace their toothbrush regularly, it becomes less effective in doing its job.
A worn-out toothbrush could lead to a number of dental problems — like leaving behind bacteria that can turn into plaque on their teeth. And when left untreated, this plaque can turn into costly cavities or cause gum infections.
Not replacing your child’s toothbrush can even spread bacteria around your child’s mouth or cause infection — especially if they brush their teeth while they’re sick.
Discover how often your child should replace their toothbrush and why it’s so important to replace their toothbrush regularly.
How Often Should I Change My Manual Toothbrush?
In general, your child should replace their toothbrush at most every 3 months.
An easy way to remember this is to change out their toothbrush at the time of their 6-month dental check-up, then again 3 months later.
Because children are still learning how to hold a toothbrush and use it properly, they often brush harder than adults. As a result, it’s not uncommon for your child’s toothbrush to need replacing more frequently than yours.
While you may need to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, your child may need a new one every 2 months.
Pay attention to the bristles on your child’s toothbrush. If the bristles look worn down or misshapen, it’s time to get a new toothbrush for your little one.
When Should You Change Your Electric Toothbrush Head?
Deciding whether to get your child a manual or electric toothbrush can be a challenge, especially if they’re new to brushing.
Both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective at cleaning baby teeth. While an electric toothbrush is typically more effective in keeping your child’s teeth clean, manual toothbrushes may be easier for little hands to hold and control while they learn how to brush their teeth.
Manual toothbrushes can also have softer bristles, which is good for young children who may brush too hard.
On the other hand, many electric toothbrushes offer features that can help your child learn good oral health habits quickly. Some of these features include sensors that let your child know they’re brushing too hard, or when their 2 minutes of brushing is complete.
Regardless of whether your child uses a manual or electric toothbrush, it’s still important to replace their manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head at least every 3 months (or when they’re showing signs of damage).
At the end of the day, the best toothbrush for a child is the one that they’re willing to use to brush their teeth properly!
Extra Tips for Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy
While teaching your little one that appropriate way to care for their smile isn’t always be easy, it’s an important step to help them live a healthy, happy life.
Our experienced dental team is here to help you every step of the way. Here are some simple tips that can make a big difference in keeping your child’s smile healthy:
- Help your child brush and floss twice a day. Start by brushing their teeth yourself, so they can feel the appropriate amount of pressure and style. Then, they can practice for themselves. Learn more about how and when your child should start brushing their teeth >
- Do not share toothbrushes between family members or friends who are sleeping over. Toothbrushes can have germs on them even after rinsing that could raise the risk of infection, especially for people with immune suppression.
- Practice what you preach by allowing your child to see you practice good oral hygiene habits yourself.
- Show your child how to properly store their toothbrush: upright, in a holder or cup, and away from other toothbrushes to avoid spreading germs.
- Replace their manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 2-3 months or at the first signs of wearing down.
What To do if Your Child Has Bleeding Gums
If your child has ever struggled with bleeding gums when brushing, you know what a scary experience it can be. It can sometimes be hard to figure out where the bleeding is coming from and why.
Numerous factors can contribute to bleeding gums, including brushing too hard or having the wrong toothbrush. Infections in their mouth can also cause gums to bleed.