As a parent, you know that taking good care of your child is a big job. In the midst of all the busyness, it might be easy to think that the toothbrush you use on your child’s baby teeth probably doesn’t make much difference.
In fact, using the right toothbrush for your child’s current needs can help you clean your child’s teeth more effectively, encourage your child to participate in their own oral care or provide some relief if your child is dealing with teething.
We’ve compiled some answers to commonly asked questions about taking care of your child’s teeth, and our list of the best baby toothbrushes has you covered whether your child is a young infant or a toddler with several teeth.
Here’s to fun toothbrushes and a clean, healthy smile!
Our Top Picks at a Glance
- Brush-Baby BabySonic Electric Toothbrush
- Jordan Step 1 Baby Toothbrush
- Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether
- RADIUS – Totz Toothbrush
- Brilliant Baby’s 1st Toothbrush Teether
- Nuby 4 Stage Oral Care Set System
- Fridababy SmileFrida The ToothHugger
- The Brushies Baby and Toddler Toothbrush
- Dr. Brown’s Infant-to-Toddler Toothbrush Set
- Nibblit Cactus Kids Toothbrush
Note: There’s a lot more information below but clicking the above links will take you to current prices, further information and customer reviews on Amazon.
Why are Baby Teeth Important?
Those tiny little teeth do more than make for an adorable smile. During the first few years of life, baby teeth are essential for helping your child learn to talk and eat.
Aside from these early skills, baby teeth also help maintain the jaw space that your child’s permanent teeth will grow into. The early loss of a baby tooth could cause a permanent tooth to erupt in the wrong space, and your child could end up with crooked teeth or overly tight spaces between their teeth.
Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth
When Should I Start Using a Toothbrush on My Baby?
It’s never too early to establish the habit of healthy oral care. Even during their newborn days, you can use a damp washcloth or silicone gum massager to gently clean your baby’s gums.
Once your baby has sprouted their first actual tooth, you can switch to a soft toothbrush that can more effectively clean all the small spaces around the new tooth.
Since every baby gets their first tooth in their own time, there isn’t any set age when you should start using a baby toothbrush.
How Do I Brush My Baby’s / Toddler’s Teeth?
Set a good example
One of the primary ways young children learn is by observing the actions of others and then trying to imitate those actions.
Obviously, an infant is too young to hold or maneuver a toothbrush on their own, but never overlook the impact of your example. Brush your own teeth where your child can see you, and try to make the process seem as fun as possible. Even though your child may not understand everything you are doing, they’re probably absorbing more than you think.
Use a small amount of toothpaste
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a tiny dab of fluoridated toothpaste until your child turns three. Aim for an amount that is about the size of a grain of rice, and try to avoid letting your child swallow the toothpaste.
After brushing, make sure to run the toothbrush under a stream of water and brush around in your child’s mouth one or two more times to “rinse” any leftover toothpaste away, and encourage your child to spit into the sink.
Position your child comfortably
- If your young infant isn’t able to sit on their own yet, support them in a semi-upright position in your arms or lay them on their back.
- If your baby can sit well, hold them on your lap to brush, or place them in the highchair. You could also hold your child upright against your body with one arm and use your other hand to do the brushing.
- If your toddler can stand well, you can crouch down in front of them.
Aim for two minutes of brushing time
Unfortunately, a quick swipe over your child’s teeth isn’t enough to keep them clean and healthy. Even though it might take a few tries, work towards the goal of effective brushing for two full minutes.
You might want to try playing your child’s favorite song at brushing time. Many children’s songs are somewhere in the neighborhood of two minutes, so tell your child they need to brush for the duration of the song.
Maintain a calm, relaxed attitude
Even if your child resists your efforts to brush effectively, do your best to keep the mood light and fun. You don’t want your child associating brushing with being held down and having something forced in their mouth.
As soon as they are able or show an interest, let your child hold their toothbrush. They will probably get the idea to try putting it into their mouth independently, and be sure to praise any effort. Supervise your child’s brushing carefully, and make sure you follow your baby’s brush with an effective one of your own.
When Should My Child See a Dentist?
Your child’s primary health care provider should perform a quick visual inspection of your child’s teeth at every well-child visit. However, the signs of early tooth decay can be so subtle that only a trained dental professional can spot them.
Schedule your child’s dental check-up within six months of getting their first tooth, or by their first birthday if they are a late teether. Setting up regular dental appointments is one of the best ways you can catch tooth decay early or prevent it altogether.
What Should I Look for in a Baby Toothbrush?
Brushes with medium or hard bristles run the risk of eroding tooth enamel or irritating gums for anyone, but this can be especially true with infants and toddlers.
Soft or extra-soft bristles still effectively sweep away food particles and residues, and they are usually gentler and more comfortable for your child.
If your child’s toothbrush head is too large, you will probably have a hard time effectively brushing the small spaces in your child’s mouth.
Since there are size differences even among children’s toothbrushes, be sure to check the manufacture’s intended age for each brush.
Look for a brush with a wide handle that doesn’t require too much coordination to hold securely. Some children’s toothbrushes have a textured or contoured handle that makes it easier for you or your child to maintain a firm grip.
Fun colors or characters
Don’t underestimate the thrill your child might get from having a toothbrush that features their favorite color or animal.
If your child is old enough, you may want to let them pick out their own brush from a list of your pre-approved choices.
How Often Should I Replace My Child’s Toothbrush?
The ADA recommends that people in all age groups replace their toothbrush every three or four months even if the brush still appears to be in good shape. If your brush appears frayed or shows other signs of wear, you should replace it sooner.
Since young children often bite down or chew on their toothbrush bristles more than adults, you can probably expect to replace your child’s brush frequently.
Our Choices for the Best Baby Toothbrush
- Helpful light
- Vibration can feel good on teething gums
- You still need to use this brush like a manual model
If you have your own electric toothbrush that your child finds fascinating, this brush might be an especially apt choice.
While most adult electric models have a moving brush head, the BabySonic’s handle produces the vibrating motions. This means that the vibration is much gentler, and it functions more as a gum-soother and child-distractor than an actual cleaning feature. Since the brush head is stationary, you still need to manually move the brush to clean your child’s teeth. Especially for those times when your child’s gums are sore from teething, this gentle vibration may help them find some relief.
Another kid-pleasing feature is the light-up handle, and it serves a couple of important purposes beyond just being fun. The light stays on for two minutes to help your child learn to brush for the recommended time, and the light is also just the right size if you need to look inside your child’s mouth.
Extra-soft nylon bristles treat your child’s mouth gently while still sweeping away food particles and stimulating the gums. The BabySonic runs on one AAA battery (included), and two brush heads in an infant and a toddler size are included.
With its vibrating handle and light-up timer, the BabySonic can make getting your child’s teeth clean a little easier and more fun.
- Short neck helps prevent gagging
- Rounded shape is easy for little hands to grip
- Colored bristles make using the right amount of toothpaste easy
- Teething handle is hard plastic, not soft silicone
The thought that your child could fall with a toothbrush in their mouth is enough to give any parent anxiety. This little toothbrush aims to help alleviate some of that fear by including a couple of specially-designed safety features.
The Step 1 features a neck that is significantly shorter than the average children’s brush, and the handle is a wide oval shape that is too large to fit inside most toddler’s mouths. The goal of these two features is to prevent gagging or injury by keeping the brush from getting too far into your child’s mouth. Caution: while the Step 1’s design is smart and can be very effective, it’s no replacement for close adult supervision.
The Step 1’s colored center bristles are another convenient feature. Cover the blue bristles with a thin layer of toothpaste, and your child will use just enough to get their teeth clean.
The Step 1’s rounded handle has small raised bumps that can do double duty as a soothing teether. However, you will probably want to keep some other teething toys within easy reach for your baby since the Step 1 is made of hard plastic rather than chewable silicone.
This toothbrush features a thoughtful design that makes getting your child’s teeth clean a bit easier and safer.
- Great for very young children
- Adorable banana design and bright color
- Not suitable for toddlers
For very young babies who are just sprouting their first teeth, this cheerful yellow banana can help keep those new teeth clean and soothe irritated teething gums at the same time.
The Baby Banana has the shape of a partially-peeled banana, and the folded “peels” form handles that little fingers can easily grasp. The short neck and wide handles work together to discourage your baby from putting the brush too far into their mouth.
Soft, food-grade silicone makes up every part of the brush, including the bristles. While the chunky silicone bristles probably can’t get into all the nooks and crannies that nylon ones can, chewing on and brushing with the Baby Banana can clean your child’s teeth and gums while also giving a soothing massage. If your baby is going through a particularly rough teething spell, you can put the Baby Banana in the refrigerator or freezer for some cold relief.
With most toothbrushes, your cleaning options are limited to rinsing under a stream of running water. Owing to its silicone material, you can wash the Baby Banana with warm soapy water or even put it in the dishwasher.
One thing to keep in mind: While the Baby Banana works well as a teething toy and a gentle toothbrush for infants, most toddlers have developed enough jaw strength to potentially bite off bristles. As long as your infant isn’t an avid chewer, you should be able to use this product until your child is about twelve months old.
The Baby Banana has a happy color and handles that are easy for infants to hold. With its soft, chewy silicone material, your baby can enjoy using this product as a teething toy or a toothbrush.
- Super-soft bristles won’t irritate gums
- Bright, sparkly colors
- Great design for young brushers
- Might wear out before three months
If your little one loves vibrant colors and eye-catching sparkles, the Totz toothbrush can bring a little extra flair to brushing time with six bright shades and silver glitter throughout.
In addition to its fun look, the Totz also delivers performance. A wide, flat handle fits easily in a toddler’s palm and allows your child to maneuver the brush in different angles. The oval-shaped brush head is small enough to fit into the tight places in your child’s mouth, and the elongated shape helps the bristles reach the back teeth.
Children often have a tendency to brush vigorously, and the Totz helps combat any gum irritation with its extra-soft bristles. Another cool feature of the bristles is that they are derived from vegetables rather than synthetic chemicals. One downside is that the Totz’s soft bristles might fray or become matted a bit sooner than firmer ones.
For toddlers that are 18 months and older, the Totz toothbrush delivers vibrant colors, fun sparkles and soft bristles that are still strong enough to effectively clean teeth.
- Can provide some teething relief while also cleaning
- Dual purpose teether and toothbrush
- Ideal for very young babies
- Dishwasher safe
- Not suitable for children who have molars
When you first see this toothbrush’s unusual shape, you may not even recognize it as a toothbrush. The unique design, however, delivers some great cleaning and soothing benefits for children from about four months of age until the time they get their first molars.
Traditional toothbrushes have bristles that sit at a right angle to the handle, but the Baby’s 1st toothbrush is one straight line. The brush head is a flat panel of soft, silicone bristles that sits at the top of the brush, and the panel is curved to easily conform to the shape of your baby’s mouth. Both the top and bottom of the panel have bristles, so your child can clean or massage both their upper and lower gums or teeth at the same time.
While the silicone bristles can help clean away retained milk or sugar, you probably won’t have much luck if you try to use a standard brushing motion. Rather, the soft bristles gently massage and clean your baby’s gums and teeth as your child chews.
The Baby’s 1st handle is chunky and easy to hold, so even young babies can usually get this toothbrush to their mouth independently. A round opening at the very bottom of the handle lets you attach a pacifier clip, so the toothbrush won’t get too far away even if it slips out of your baby’s hands.
Sanitizing some toothbrushes can be difficult or impossible, but not the Baby’s 1st. Due to its solid silicone construction, you can hand wash this brush or run it through the dishwasher.
This product has a unique shape that can clean your child’s teeth and gums while also providing some teething relief.
- All the pieces you need from newborn to early childhood
- Convenient holder is included
- You probably won’t use all the pieces if your child is a bit older when you purchase this set.
Whether you are looking for a gum massager for your newborn, an extra-soft brush for your child’s brand new teeth, a teething gum massage or a standard toddler brush, this set from Nuby has you covered.
For children from newborn days until the first tooth, the clear silicone fingertip brush slips onto a caregiver’s finger to allow for gentle cleaning and a stimulating massage. After your child gets that first tooth, you can move to Stage 2: a more traditional brush shape with silicone bristles. The Stage 3 piece is a teething gum massager, so you can help your little one out when they seem to have some teething discomfort. Finally, the Stage 4 brush has traditional nylon bristles and is ideal for children who have multiple erupted teeth.
A very handy feature is the included storage tray. Each Stage piece has its own spot, and your child can learn early on that their toothbrush needs to stay in a special clean area. Bonus: you may be able to avoid the last-minute search for a misplaced brush, and your bathroom can stay more organized as well.
This convenient set makes it easy to take care of your baby’s oral care needs from birth to toddlerhood.
- Cleans teeth on three sides at once
- Ideal for older toddlers and preschoolers
- Small size is easy for children to handle
- Not a good choice for children who are prone to biting or chewing
Who doesn’t like a good hug? If you’ve never thought about hugging your teeth, this toothbrush from Frida might change your mind.
The ToothHugger has three brush heads instead of the standard one. The bristles sit at three different angles, and each brush stroke sweeps three sides of a tooth at once. While you should still aim for a full two minutes of brushing, the ToothHugger can make it easier and faster to effectively clean your toddler’s teeth on those days when your child seems staunchly opposed to brushing.
Even though the ToothHugger has two extra brush heads, it still has a compact design that can easily fit into a toddler or older child’s mouth. The wide handle is also easy to grip, and a suction cup bottom allows the ToothHugger to stand up straight on your bathroom counter.
The ToothHugger has a rubber outer layer that can stand up to a bit of normal toddler biting. However, the soft rubber could be susceptible to ripping or coming apart with excessive biting. Always supervise your child closely while they brush, and put the ToothHugger away as soon as they finish brushing.
This smart brush has three brush heads that clean teeth faster, but make sure to supervise your child closely while they use it.
- Cute animal shapes in bright colors
- Soft silicone won’t irritate little gums
- Smart bristle design
- Only available in one size
- Bulky brush head may have difficulty reaching some teeth
Brushies toothbrushes depart from the traditional plastic handle/nylon bristle combo to be an all-silicone piece that fits over an adult finger. This design can make it a little easier for parents by functioning as an extension of their finger rather than a separate piece to hold onto. In addition to the parental convenience, Brushies come in fun, bright colors and feature animal designs that are usually kid favorites.
Silicone teething toothbrushes usually have some type of bristle, but they are sometimes too short to deliver much of a benefit. Brushies silicone bristles are a little longer and thinner, so they are able to get into the small spaces between your child’s teeth for effective yet gentle cleaning.
While the fingertip design is helpful in several ways, it does present a few potential issues. The Brushies have a bulkier size than many standard children’s toothbrush heads, so you might have a harder time brushing your child’s back molars. Additionally, the Brushies only come in one size, so parents with thinner or wider fingers may have a looser or tighter fit.
These fun toothbrushes can make brushing the front teeth fun and easy, but you may need a different style of brush once your child gets molars.
- Easy for baby to hold and maneuver
- Cute elephant shape
- Toothpaste included
- Ears encourage proper grip and hygiene
- Bristles might be too stiff for some children
This cute toothbrush works equally well for infants with just one or two teeth and toddlers who have several front teeth and molars.
The brush has a fun elephant motif that does more than just look cute. The brush head is at the end of the elephant’s trunk and is small enough to fit easily into the various areas of your child’s mouth. The elephant also has two ears located at the brush’s midpoint. The ears elevate the bristles off the ground when your child lays the brush down, and they can also help prevent your child from placing their hand too far up the toothbrush.
The super-chunky handle is perfect for little hands to get a good grip on, and the brush’s wide base allows it to stand upright for storage. The nylon bristles are effective, but they are a bit firmer than some other brands and might lead to irritation in children with sensitive gums.
The Infant-to-Toddler Toothbrush set also includes a 1.4-ounce tube of fruit-flavored toothpaste.
This little elephant toothbrush is fun to use, has smart features, stores easily and comes with a tube of children’s toothpaste.
- Bright color and cute cactus motif
- Multiple textured surfaces
- Easy for babies to hold and get into their mouth
- Washable by hand or dishwasher
- Might not clean teeth as well as a traditional toothbrush, especially molars
When you touch a cactus, you often wind up regretting it. Fortunately, that’s not the case with this bright green cactus.
True to an actual cactus’s shape, this teething toothbrush has a main trunk and two arms that branch off at about the middle point. The toothbrush bristles are at the tip of the main trunk, and they sit a little higher than the other two arms. While you or your child should be able to brush around the front teeth fairly easily, the two side arms could get in the way when brushing your child’s molars.
With its four rounded tips and the flat areas in between, this cactus provides your baby with plenty of places to hold and chew on. The base and each top arm are small enough that your baby shouldn’t have trouble fitting them into their mouth, and each side arm also has a gently textured tip that can help soothe teething gums.
This little cactus is made of food-grade silicone, so you can easily wash it in the sink or your dishwasher. There is also a small hole on the bottom of the main trunk for attaching a pacifier clip.
The teething cactus has a smart shape that is easy for your baby to grab and chew on. However, if your baby has their molars, you may want to use a more traditional style of toothbrush to get them clean.
When shopping for the right toothbrush for your little one, take your child’s age and the number of erupted teeth into consideration. Since a toothbrush is an item that requires frequent replacement, be sure to shop for your child’s current needs rather than future ones. Additionally, always remember that proper technique and frequent brushing are just as important as the toothbrush you ultimately end up purchasing.
Teaching your child to effectively brush their teeth is well worth the investment of your time and effort. You are caring for their teeth now, and helping them establish healthy habits for life.