Brushing your 3-year-olds teeth often feels like a fight and choosing the right brush for a 3-year-old is a difficult task. Let me solve one of those problems for you and show you what I think is the perfect toothbrush for your 3-year-old.
Brushing battles are common, that’s why you need the best brush for the job. 3-year-olds need a completely different kind of brush to an adult or even older children. I went through plenty of toothbrushes and toothpaste for my little one before I found the perfect combination. I researched for hours and discussed the options with my dentist. Now, you don’t have to waste your time and money as I did. Let me lay out everything I found.
So, What is the best toothbrush for a 3-year-old? The best toothbrush for a 3-year-old is the Brush Baby BabySonic Infant and Toddler Electric Toothbrush. It has a smaller head for tiny mouths, an LED light that also acts as a timer, gentle vibration for a thorough clean, and soft bristles for sensitive gums. The handle is oversized so it’s easy to maneuver and it has a sucker on the bottom to prevent it from falling over. It’s been the perfect brush for my 3-year-old!
I’ve had the BabySonic and used it for both my little ones for a few years now and I am delighted with it. It has been reliable, easy to use, and the light has been useful to see where you are brushing in their mouths and my children still like the light, they find it very funny.
Even though it’s a sonic toothbrush I haven’t found that it has irritated my 3-year-olds gums/teeth at all. The bristles are much softer than adults toothbrushes so it’s more gentle on their gums. I find it easier to get a thorough clean with a sonic toothbrush rather than a manual one.
It uses one AAA battery, which I thought I might have to replace every week or so. But it’s been the opposite, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the battery seems to last months at a time. Even though we brush our children’s teeth twice a day as recommended. The battery is easy to change and the whole toothbrush is watertight so you don’t have to worry about getting it wet.
The heads of the BabySonic are replaceable too. Most dentists recommend you need to change your toothbrush every three months because of bacteria build-up and the bristles wear out. To change the head it’s really easy, just one twist and it pops off. It’s the same with the battery compartment, just one twist and it comes off easily.
Overall, I would definitely recommend the Brush Baby BabySonic Toothbrush (Amazon link). It’s been perfect. I can fault it in any way. Check the price on Amazon as that’s where I found it cheapest.
Electric VS Manual Toothbrush for Your 3-Year-Old
It is all a matter of your own preference. I went for the electric sonic kind because that’s what I use for myself and I find It easier to get a better clean than when I used to use my manual toothbrush.
There aren’t any studies that I can find that conclusively prove electric toothbrushes are better than manual but my teeth just feel cleaner when I use one. I also find them easier to maneuver into tighter spaces in my mouth. That’s why I chose the electric toothbrush for my 3-year-old.
Electric toothbrushes can be expensive for adults, I think that’s why it puts people off the idea. But, thankfully the BabySonic is an absolute bargain compared to adult electric toothbrushes. Check the price on the Amazon link I provided above, it changes frequently.
It also helps that my little ones adore the tiny light on the BabySonic. It never fails to make them smile and laugh. It actually makes them more willing to brush their teeth (most of the time). Little things amuse little people I suppose.
What Age is Best to Start Using an Electric Toothbrush?
You can introduce an electric toothbrush for your child at any time. At around 6 months old, I started cleaning their gums with the BabySonic. According to dentists, bacteria can build up in their mouth even at this age.
At 3-years-old it’s completely normal to introduce an electric toothbrush and won’t harm the development of their teeth at all. Just lead by example with your own electric toothbrush and introduce it gently to your child.
Will My 3-Year-Old be Scared of Using an Electric Toothbrush?
When I was trying to find the perfect toothbrush for my 3-year-old I was worried that the whizzing and buzzing of an electric toothbrush would scare my child and they wouldn’t want to use it.
I thought an electric brush might feel tickly and weird for my child. I remember when I first used an electric toothbrush, the sensation took a little getting used to.
So I took the process of introducing an electric toothbrush gently. I used the brush without turning it on first. I let them play with the brush and feel it buzzing in their hands. After a few days, they felt comfortable with it and let me brush their teeth with the toothbrush turned on.
Your children look up to you for guidance. So make brushing a fun experience. Brush your teeth at the same time as they do. When they see you are using an electric toothbrush, they will want to use one too.
If You Want to Use A Manual Toothbrush for Your 3-Year-Old
If you are set on using a manual toothbrush for your 3-year-old I think the best option and the one I would choose would be the Totz Plus Silky Soft Toothbrush (Amazon link). They are easy to grip, have a nice large safe head, and silky soft vegetable-derived bristles for sensitive little gums. Some of my friends recommended them to me, but I love the BabySonic.
Whatever kind of toothbrush you end up choosing, you should brush up (get it?) on your toothbrushing method to get the most out of it. Sometimes that’s more important than the brush itself. I created a complete guide on How to Brush Your 3-Year-Old’s Teeth, it’s packed full of great tips and a few of my secrets to avoid brushing battles. Go check it out now.
What Toothpaste is Best for a 3-Year-Old?
I use Tom’s children’s toothpaste with fluoride (Amazon link), it’s great value when I buy it in a multipack from Amazon. My kids like the subtle strawberry taste. I have tried other toothpaste but my kids found the flavor a bit strong. Tom’s has just the right of fluoride to help their teeth but not too much to be on the safe side.
I always use fluoride toothpaste but if you feel like non-fluoride toothpaste would be better for your 3-year-old then Tom’s have a non-fluoride version (Amazon link).
Why Brushing Your 3-Year-Old’s Teeth is More Important Than You Think
The clear link between good oral hygiene and good general health.
“They are just baby teeth, so they aren’t that important are they? They will fall out soon.” I’ve overheard other parents say.
Baby teeth are vital for your 3-year-olds future health. Baby teeth (sometimes called primary teeth) save space for when their adult teeth come along. They also keep your child’s jaw straight. So, it is very important that we take good care of them now so they can do their job effectively.
“One of those necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his or her teeth. Helping your child get in the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes is no small feat, but a little creativity can go a long way when it comes to his or her long-term dental health.”– ADA (American Dental Association).
The Unusual Risks of Not Brushing Your Teeth That You Would Never Guess
Apart from the obvious painful cavities and gum disease that your child would get if they didn’t brush their teeth. According to Colgate, there are other surprising risks for poor oral health. These are:
- Cardiovascular disease: Heart disease can be caused by bacteria from the inflammation of the gums entering your bloodstream. The inner lining of the heart can also become infected and inflamed.
- Dementia: The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream, which might even lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Respiratory infections: The Journal of Periodontology says that gum disease could increase the chances of getting infections in your lungs.
- Diabetic complications: Inflammation of their gums can make it harder to control blood sugar and make symptoms of diabetes worse.
It amazes me how much our orla health is linked to our general wellbeing. Although it seems unlikely now that your 3-year-old would ever suffer from any of those diseases, they might when they grow up. That’s why it is important to show them how to brush their teeth correctly and often enough now.
7 Ways of Making Brushing More Fun for Your 3-Year-Old
To a 3-year-old brushing their teeth is boring! But it’s one of the essential life skills that they must master. Helping your 3-year-old realize how important the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes is a difficult task.
1. Make the 2 minutes fun!
The two minutes it takes for your little one to brush their teeth doesn’t have to be boring. Most people will just set a timer and watch the clock tick down in silence. No wonder your 3-year-old hates it! Try finding a favorite song of theirs and play the first two minutes of it and use that as the timer.
You could also try making up a story for your child to entertain them while brushing their teeth. Anything to take their mind off being bored and frustrated.
2. Stick to a routine
I know it’s difficult sometimes, you’ve had a long day, the kids are half asleep. You might be tempted to just skip the brushing, just for tonight? But you should keep brushing, you want it to become part of their day. Don’t skip brushes it sets a bad example and upsets their routine.
3. Reward brushing
Think about what motivates your child, is it games? Stickers? Storys? If your 3-year-old brushes well then you should treat them with a small reward. They can have a sticker, pick out the bedtime story, or choose a board game you can both play. Be positive and praise them when they brush their teeth well.
4. Bring in their hero
Every child has a hero they look up to or character they adore. See if you can find any videos or stories from that character encouraging children to brush their teeth. The character will then become a good example for your child. Here’s an example of the kind of video my 3-year-olds love:
5. Make up your own stories
Let them become the hero, brushing away the evil bacteria! Or just make up lovely little 2 minutes stories to tell them while they are brushing.
6. Let your child decorate their brush
Encourage your child to make the brush their own. This will allow them to become more comfortable with it. My 3-year-olds stick stickers that they chose onto their toothbrushes. It will hopefully make brushing more fun and make them feel more involved.
7. Teach by example
Get the whole family int he bathroom brushing their teeth at the same time! 3-year-olds love to copy what older siblings and parents do. They soak up information from you like a sponge. So, make sure you are filling them up with useful skills like brushing their teeth.
Don’t forget to read my in-depth article about How to Brush Your 3-Year-Olds Teeth?. Getting the technique right is the most important part, after reading my article you will be a pro at it!