There are many reasons to invest in an electric toothbrush for your child. We list some of them below and provide five top tips on what to look out for when selecting one.

In 2019, The Oral Health foundation published a study looking into the difference in effectiveness between manual and electric toothbrushes. Over an 11-year period they found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE commented that “Electric toothbrushes, especially those with heads that rotate in both directions, or ‘oscillating’ heads, are really effective at removing plaque. This helps keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.”

Electric toothbrushes are so topical these days that they even made it into this year’s series of The Apprentice, in which an entire episode saw contestants going ‘head to head’ to design an electric toothbrush aimed at children between the ages of six and eight.

The intrepid teams met with mixed success, but on the back of it, the Oral Health Foundation published the top five “must have” design features for children’s electric toothbrushes.

We’ve summarised them below:

  1. Head size and bristles – this is the most important part of the toothbrush. Due to the size of children’s mouths it’s important that the head of the toothbrush is small enough to fit in their mouth and clean all areas properly.
  2. The handle – it is important that the handle of your child’s toothbrush has a grip which allows them to manoeuvre the brush with ease. A fun design can also incentivise brushing twice a day.
  3. Pressure sensors – children often brush their teeth too hard. This can lead to bleeding and receding gums due to the repeated force used. Pressure sensors will alert your child when they are brushing too hard, usually in the form of a light.
  4. Characters and colours – research conducted by the Oral Health Foundation has shown that many children prefer electric toothbrushes simply because of the designs, which often use popular characters that can be changed using stickers to keep young people engaged in their oral health routine.
  5. Timers – this is the best way to make sure that your child is brushing their teeth for the correct amount of time, every time. Some timers include songs or instructional routines to make the experience more enjoyable.

And two extra pieces of practical advice

  1. Avoid toothbrushes which don’t take rechargeable batteries as you will be forever changing their disposable cousins, which can get very expensive. Good rechargeable toothbrushes are available for around £20-30 and require the heads to be changed only every 3 months on average – we think that’s a good investment into your children’s future oral health.
  2. Make sure you store your electric toothbrushes with the heads off, as if they are left on the unit when they are wet, water might drip into the unit and damage it.

For more advice, head to the Oral Health Foundation website which is packed full of tips and tricks.

Or, here at 543 Dental Centre, our experienced hygienists can offer lots of useful advice regarding toothbrushing.


Call us on 01482 565488 to book an appointment with our hygiene team for a good clean and more advice on maintaining a good oral health routine.