Are you a parent or guardian struggling to get your child to brush their teeth?
Does your child think brushing is boring?
Do you want your child to have the benefits of an electric toothbrush and make brushing more enjoyable?
If so, this article is for you.
Having tested many of the top kids’ toothbrushes, I have put together a list of the best electric toothbrush for kids, along with a buyers guide.
Picking one of these should help transform that tooth brushing routine.
This article focuses on electric toothbrushes suitable for kids aged 3 and up.
If you’re shopping for a child under 3 years, you will find my best baby toothbrush article more helpful.
Sonicare for Kids Connected HX6321/02
|view on amazon →|
Oral-B Kids 6+
|view on amazon →|
Oral-B Kids 3+
|view on amazon →|
Our Top 3 Picks For Best Kids Electric Toothbrush Explained
Below you can read a more in-depth explanation of why we recommend the following three electric toothbrushes for kids.
1. Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected HX6321/02
As close to perfect as you will get in a kids electric toothbrush, if this does not get them brushing their teeth regularly and better, little else will.
It offers up all of the desirable features.
Bold colors and a variety of stickers in the box give the opportunity for kids to personalize the brush handle to their taste.
It is easy to hold in hand and has plenty of grip on the handle so it will not slip easily.
There is a built-in timer and the brush automatically powers off at the end of a 2 minute clean too.
|Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected HX6321/02||2,539 Reviews||$49.99 $39.95||View on Amazon|
Connecting via Bluetooth to a smartphone, there is an excellent app for Android and iOS which motivates and educates the child.
The battery life is fantastic too which means there is one less thing to worry about as a parent.
Small and innovative touches include the Easy-Start mode which ramps up the power for first time electric toothbrush users.
In the box is just 1 brush head. This is what is classed as ‘standard’ sized. It is suitable for younger and older children, but for those aged 3-6 you might find that buying a ‘compact’ head it more suitable for their smaller mouths.
The heads are even rubber backed so they are soft on the inside cheek of the child.
The only real negative is the price, but it is a small additional price to pay when you consider the benefits and convenience it can bring to you and your children.
Best suited to: Children aged 3 and up
Find out more: Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Review.
2. Oral-B Kids 6+
This is a slim, stylish and comfortable toothbrush to hold that has a good battery life.
There is a Star Wars and Minni Mouse themed variant, which have a decal on the brush handle, but aside from this, nothing about this toothbrush is specifically aimed at kids.
No brushing charts are included, there is no child friendly documentation and there is no Bluetooth connectivity to connect to a smartphone app.
It is really aimed at the older child who is a little more independent.
This toothbrush has a full sized round brush head you may well be used to seeing on Oral-B toothbrushes. In fact, adults can use this brush too.
The bristles are soft and clean the teeth really well.
|Oral-B Kids 6+||159 Reviews||$48.87||View on Amazon|
There are 3 very useful features built-in.
You have a 2 minute timer, 30 second pacer and pressure sensor.
The timer and pacer encourage even brushing for the correct amount of time and the pressure sensor alerts the child if they are brushing too hard, via a bright red light.
All 3 elements help coach the child to brush their teeth well.
The handle is slim and grippy thanks to the rubber grip that runs down the front.
A rechargeable battery lasts 2 weeks between charges and the handle gives feedback when the battery is low.
It lacks a bit of childish charm, but for the older child, who is growing up so fast, this is a solid option.
Best suited to: Children aged 6 years plus
Find out more: Oral-B Kids 6+ Review
3. Oral-B Kids 3+
A cheaper option to the other brushes included in this list, the kids 3+ electric toothbrush misses out on some features but is still perfectly functional.
There are a number of different variants available, but it will be the Disney themed models that likely appeal best to your children.
Stickers for the handle and fitted to the brush head make brushing more engaging.
There is too a Disney magic timer app that can be used alongside the toothbrush to encourage better and longer brushing.
The app and toothbrush do not connect via Bluetooth like the Sonicare does, but it serves the purpose and makes things more interesting for the child.
|Oral-B Kids 3+||501 Reviews||$29.99||View on Amazon|
It cleans the teeth well and has a built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
Letting the brush down a little is the battery life. It achieves a minimum of 8, but a maximum of 10 days between charges.
Sadly though there is no battery icon to give any feedback when the battery is low or if it is even charging when on the supplied charging stand.
Best suited to: Children aged 3 years and up
Find out more: Oral-B Kids 3+ Review
Why should you listen to us?
Electric Teeth is an independent organization with a mission to simplify dental health.
Our team is a mixture of consumers and dental professionals.
We strive to create honest, informative content, telling you the facts, good or bad.
We are not sponsored by big brands or healthcare companies. Our site is funded by affiliate revenue and ads, but we only recommend products that we have tested and truly believe to be worth your money.
Why not watch this short video to find out all about us?
Our Buyer’s Guide For Kids Electric Toothbrushes
Do kids need an electric toothbrush?
The short answer is no, children do not need an electric toothbrush. This is the same as adults – we do not need an electric toothbrush.
But, there are many advantages for your son or daughter to have one. The benefits are much the same as they would be for adults, but there are 3 key reasons that stand out for us.
The first has to be the speed, power and movements of the brush. Simply put, even if your precious one only brushes for 10 seconds, the electric toothbrush will have made considerably more passes over the tooth surface than a manual brush used for the same time.
Tooth brushing really is dependent on technique. Manual toothbrushing requires a lot of dexterity, which your child is unlikely to have. In fact, current recommendations by dentists is that toothbrushing is done by parents until a child is able to tie their own shoe laces, and then supervised until 8 years of age.
Electric toothbrushes are a lot less technique sensitive, because they do a lot of the hard work for your child. Therefore they are likely to get a better clean with an electric toothbrush.
Reason 2 is that there are timers built into the brushes. We all know how a child can think a matter of seconds is a lifetime when they are having to do something they don’t want to, such as brushing their teeth. Unlike a manual brush, most electric toothbrushes have a timer function built in that helps encourage your child brush for the dentist recommend 2 minutes.
The 3rd key reason is the interactivity that these brushes can bring. Some have associated apps that run on a smartphone whilst the child brushes. The specially designed interfaces appeal psychologically to your child and makes brushing more enjoyable and in some cases educational too. Suddenly 2 minutes isn’t quite so long and boring when they unlock achievements within the app for brushing correctly.
Numerous independent studies have shown how electric toothbrushes encourage users, both children and adults, to brush for longer.
Statistics from 2017 have shown how more and more children are suffering with tooth decay. Lifestyle choices and hidden sugars within foods has led to a 24 percent rise (in the last 10 years) in the number of children under 4 years of age being hospitalized for tooth extractions.
Taking care of children’s teeth is the best way to fight gum disease, plaque painful cavities and of course possible tooth extraction.
Teaching a child good habits now can really make a difference in the future. And an electric toothbrush is one of the best innovations and advances in encouraging your children to form great brushing habits.
You can find out more about when is the right time to give your child an electric toothbrush in our article: when can children use electric toothbrushes?
Should I buy by age group?
Many parents look to the leading brands they know they can trust, to help them get a feel for what is appropriate for their child’s age group.
Most brands do to some extent categorize their brushes by age groups, but it is not always that straight forward.
Different electric toothbrushes have different power settings, different brush head sizes, different designs and features that suit different aged kids.
Generally speaking, you have 2 key age groups when it comes to electric toothbrushes for kids.
- 3-6 years old
- 6 years and up
However, companies like Oral-B, particularly in the USA break this down much further on their website. Their age brackets are:
- 4-24 months
- 2-4 years
- 5-7 years
- 8-12 years
Now to be fair, not all of these categories offer up electric toothbrushes as options but it becomes somewhat confusing when in the UK the same brand simply categorize their brushes for 3 years +, despite having a brush specifically designed for children 6 years and older too!
Far from a strict rule, the general practice and consensus is that the earliest a child can use an electric toothbrush is from the age of about 3 years.
Younger than 3 and you should be looking at manual brush or products suitable for babies and toddlers.
It is then with children aged roughly 6 years old that you would begin to consider a different brush or brush head.
Children do develop at different rates so as soon as your child turns 6 years old does not mean they need a new toothbrush. However, by 7-8 years old, you should be thinking about switching to something more suitable.
And then, of course, you have your older children aged 12 years and up. From this age onwards you can begin looking at the adult range of electric toothbrushes.
Supervised and independent brushing
As a parent, you need to make some decisions about when you do and do not need to supervise your child. Some kids need more assistance whilst others are quick independent learners; hey even 2 children in the same family develop at different rates.
Brushing should start as soon as the first tooth in the mouth erupts, if not earlier to get your little one used to the sensation of having a toothbrush in their mouth.
For children up to the age of 4, the parent/carer should be brushing their child’s teeth. That’s not to say that your little one can’t have a go – just that you have the responsibility for doing the actual cleaning.
Toothbrushing requires lots of hand movements. A fair way to assess if your child is physically able to brush their teeth is to compare it to tying shoelaces. If they are able to tie shoelaces, they are able to move their hands well enough to brush effectively.
From about 4 years old, start teaching your little one how to brush their teeth. Most children under the age of about 8 will require some form of supervision and guidance when brushing, that is in addition to the encouragement to get them into the bathroom to begin with.
From about 6-7 years you should find, all being well, that the kids have begun to get the knack of it and do brush not only correctly but for the right amount of time.
Particular brands, dental professionals or advisers may have differing opinions, but as the parent, you will likely have the best feel for when and when not to supervise your child during brushing.
Our advice is continue to supervise them until such times as you are confident they can brush properly most of the time. Check in on them occasionally to monitor their progress; a task made much easier if you are using one of the connected brushes available.
What is the best brand of electric toothbrush?
What makes a product or brand the best at something is often personal opinion. What we believe to be the best brand may be different to you, based on personal perceptions, influence and desires.
We take cost and features into consideration when considering what product is overall “best”.
Based on our own hands-on testing, Philips Sonicare and Braun Oral-B stand out as the leaders within this field.
They are the best selling brands for adult toothbrushes and this trend continues when it comes to childrens’ electric brushes.
What makes them so popular is how well the brushes clean, their technology, features and price.
Another well known brand is Colgate. Whilst they offer electric toothbrushes for adults, their focus has been more on manual and removable battery operated models for children, and the customer reviews for their kids brushes don’t tend to be as good.
Replaceable battery vs rechargeable battery electric brushes
An electric toothbrush gets its power from a battery. This battery may well be user removable or fixed inside the brush handle.
Most electric toothbrushes have a battery built into the handle, but there are a range of brushes that accept removable batteries. These tend to be powered from 1 or 2 AA or AAA batteries. When they run out, they are simply replaced, whereas a brush with a fixed internal battery needs to be sat on a charging stand, connected to mains power to be replenished.
Price tends to be the biggest advantage of a battery powered brush, but it may well be a cheaper option if you are not sure if your child will take to an electric toothbrush.
The downsides to this type of brush is much greater. They tend to lack desirable features, deliver less power and can be less reliable. Dentist Jane Shaw writes at the babycentre.co.uk that her preference and recommendation is for those with non-removable batteries.
If you are looking for a removable battery brush for your little one, the Oral-B Pro-Health is our recommendation. There are a few designs, Star Wars (view on Amazon), Disney’s Frozen (view on Amazon), Disney Dory (view on Amazon) and Disney Princess (view on Amazon).
You might also want to consider Colgate’s Minions talking toothbrush (view on Amazon).
Sadly the downside with these is that the brush head is ‘fixed’ and the whole brush handle needs replacing each time. However, the brushes are typically cost effective enough to justify this.
Electric toothbrush features
The number of features available on electric toothbrushes are extensive, we explain the vast majority in our electric toothbrush buyer’s guide. Whilst many of these could potentially apply to children, fewer or these features are relevant or desired. The few that stand out for us are:
- Design & size
- Battery life including battery status
- Brush heads
Let’s take a look at what each of these are and why we feel they are particularly relevant.
Design & size
You only have to look at your childs possessions to see that most of them are quite bold in color. They catch the eye and engage the mind and attention of the child.
Unlike adult electric toothbrushes that tend to be White or very soft pastel shades, kids electric brushes are much bolder, with blue, red, yellow and green colors, just like their toys and games.
The handles tend to be a bit larger with more rubber and points on which to grip the brush making it easier for smaller hands to keep hold of the handle even when wet.
Certain models, like the Sonicare For Kids come with stickers that can be stuck to the handle for further personalization and motivation to children to make use of their brush.
Kudos to you if your child is not fussed by the design, but our bet is the bold colors alongside characters from popular films and TV shows will be a big hit and motivating factor to brush those pearly whites.
Possibly the best and most important technological feature built into an electric toothbrush.
Do not consider an electric toothbrush for your child unless it has at a minimum a 2 minute timer built-in.
All over the world dental professionals suggest 2 minutes of brushing twice a day is what children and adults alike should be aiming for.
Both are guilty of not brushing for as long as they should but children, in particular, have a different perception of time and are more easily distracted from their brushing.
Brushes with built-in timers make it easier for kids to learn how long they have been brushing for and when they can stop.
From the moment the brush powers on the timer kicks in and at the end of the 2 minute cycle the brush will make a sound or pause to signal the 2 minutes are up, or even better the brush will automatically power off.
Those that power off automatically are best as it is a stronger indicator to kids and conserves on the battery life too.
Many brushes do to have a quadpacer built-in. This is a timer that counts 30 second intervals to help children and adults alike pace their brushing and focus 30 seconds of brushing to each quadrant. They are, top right, top left, bottom right and bottom left.
Brushes with the timers built-in can really help kids brush for longer.
Battery life including battery status
This is perhaps the least important feature of the ones we highlight, but one parents might find it extremely useful to consider.
Battery life can vary from about 5 days through to 3 weeks.
Naturally, those with the longest life require less recharging of the battery.
Depending on how good your child will be at putting their brush back on the charging stand, a brush with a longer battery life might be preferred because there is less chance of you or your kids finding out that the brush is low or out of power at the next brushing session.
We have heard from many a parent who were not aware that the toothbrush was out of power or simply forgot to check it was topped up, as there are plenty of other things to think about and do.
As some form of middle ground those brushes with battery life indicators, normally a flashing LED are helpful for a quick check of what power is left.
The Oral-B Stages Power we recommend is a great brush but one weakness is the 5 day battery life and no way of telling how much power is left in the battery.
A 3 year old has a much smaller mouth than a 10 year old. Therefore in most cases, you are going to want to pick a brush head that is suitable for your child.
Most children’s toothbrushes will come with a smaller brush head as standard, it is from about the age of 6 upwards that you can usually make use of a larger brush head.
It does depend somewhat on your child and their preference, but brush heads for kids are made with softer bristles than those heads designed for adults.
Sonicare actually coat the back of their brush heads for kids with a soft rubber material rather than the normal plastic for standard adult brush heads. This makes it softer and more enjoyable for children to use.
Oral-B Stages Power brush comes with a smaller brush head than their Junior model.
Included with the Sonicare for kids connected is both a smaller (compact) and a standard brush head, giving you and your kids the choice. Of course, all these brush heads can be purchased separately.
You should replace the brush heads every 3 months on average, sooner if they look frayed or particularly worn.
Children’s educational standards have risen as has the way things are taught. Much more is interactive and game based.
As a result, the old school way of teaching your kids how to brush might not be as well received.
Thankfully there are apps for kids that make brushing more interactive and enjoyable.
Depending on the app and brush in question does somewhat affect the experience and option available, but all tend to make the experience of brushing the teeth more enjoyable, interactive and in many cases educational.
Most are reward based, meaning the longer the child brushes for in time and in regularity the more things are unlocked or achieved within the app.
The best experience is achieved via those brushes that have Bluetooth built-in and pair with a smartphone app.
These transfer real-time data and can better tell if a child is still brushing. For example, our recommended Sonicare for kids connected toothbrush app can tell if the child has turned the brush off before the time is up. Oral-B cannot currently offer this.
Other brush and app combinations that do not pair via Bluetooth are still beneficial, but you don’t get the same level of detail and benefits.
All the leading brands have apps
- Philips Sonicare for Kids – Uses Bluetooth to pair with a smartphone. Makes brushing engaging by using a centralized character, Sparkly, to teach kids the benefits of brushing, whilst offering rewards for progress as well as parental controls for reminders and performance tracking.
- Google Play
- Apple App Store
- Disney Magic Timer – Designed for the Oral-B Stages Power electric toothbrush, it needs to be launched when the child begins brushing and is not directly linked to the toothbrush. The app can run for 2 minutes but the child may not be brushing. Offers up to 23 different Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters and unlocks badges and for achieving a 2 minute clean and regular brushing cycles. A little less educational element than Sonicare’s offering.
- My Bright Smile – 5 educational dental games and a 2-minute brush timer. Each dental game reinforces one important oral care lesson. The timer has a nice play and pause feature and an engaging song to go along with it. This app does not pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth.
- Adventure Book
- An app based book rather than a game or timer to get your kids to brush. It is a well illustrated book that has 2 stories suitable for 4-8 year olds that not only encourages kids to develop their reading and learning but teach about oral health.
There are without a doubt a whole host of other apps that do or achieve similar things, but these are just a selection of the best ones we have used.
I have 2 or more children, can they share the electric toothbrush?
Yes, it is possible to share the electric toothbrush between your children, but you MUST change the brush heads each time the brush handle is used.
Therefore you will likely need to do this for them, because it is not all that likely kids will remember to do so.
Battery life will be affected if you share brush handles. So a handle with 7 days battery life will need charging roughly every 3 days because the battery is being consumed twice as quick as normal battery run times are based on one user.
Those brushes with apps do have different user profiles so you can have one for each child.
You may wish to consider any squabbles over the color/design/stickers applied to the brush handle. I don’t want you to have to go to the extra expense, but sometimes a separate handle is much easier.
Can my child use an adult electric toothbrush?
In theory yes, they could, but electric toothbrushes designed for adults tend to have larger brush heads and be more powerful and are therefore not suitable for all children, particularly younger ones.
From about the age of 8-10 years children’s teeth and mouths have developed to a point that they can normally accommodate an adult sized brush head as well as the additional power that they bring.
Also, consider the type of bristles on the brush head. Ideally, you want softer bristles as these are not as harsh on the softer gum and tissue found in children’s mouths. Pick up a brush head specifically labeled as soft, often they are labeled as ‘sensitive’ brush heads.
By the time they hit their teenage years an adult toothbrush is certainly perfectly acceptable. They can also use the brush heads that come with firmer bristles and need not stick to soft brush heads, with that said there are many dental professionals who will still encourage the use of the softer brush heads.
Buying Online: What’s the Cheapest Option?
We tend to recommend Amazon as they have the most competitive rates, but it’s also worth checking out other retailers.
Below we have included Amazon links to the three kids brushes we recommend choosing between and we also recommend checking out any of the following:
- Bed, Bath & Beyond
For Philips brushes, you also have the option to buy from them directly.
Depending on your location availability can vary, but most large grocery stores and pharmacies usually stock a few models too.
Picking an electric toothbrush for your child is no easy feat.
There are a number of different options, lots of different features and varying price points.
You can read and be told different things and easily become overwhelmed by all the information.
Our intention is to do away with some of this confusion, make things clear and hopefully make the decision process for yourself that little bit easier, we hope to have done this.
Sticking with one of the leading brands like Oral-B or Sonicare you can’t really go too far wrong. The very best brush you can buy is the Sonicare For Kids Connected (view on Amazon), however, that does come at a price.
If you feel your child is too young to benefit from a more expensive brush, just getting them to brush properly twice a day and not have too much sugar is a big step, and a cheaper brush like the Oral-B Kids 3+ (view on Amazon) will more than suffice. That being said, if the Sonicare For Kids Connected encourages your child to at least brush more often because it is fun, then perhaps the additional price tag is worth it.
Your questions & opinions
If you have any questions or queries about electric toothbrushes for kids that we have not answered, then don’t be afraid to get in touch.
Leave a comment below, reach out via our contact page or even social media if that is your preference.
And of course, if you have used any of these brushes or any others for kids, please do share your thoughts and opinions on the pro’s, con’s and lessons you have learned, your feedback is extremely helpful to us and other readers.
Last updated: 2020-01-22 at 11:20 // Source: Amazon Associates