Some parents will dread the twice-daily chore of brushing their child’s teeth. This was certainly the case in my house. But the addition of an electric toothbrush has made it fun and definitely more thorough, taking some of the stress out of cleaning teeth. Check our guide to the best children's electric toothbrush.
It’s an important job of course, but one that can be overlooked, because almost a quarter of five-year-olds have had tooth decay, according to statistics from Public Health England (opens in new tab). It is recommended that children and adults brush for a minimum of two minutes, which can seem like a lifetime when you consider there are a lot of options to whinge about from toothpaste to well, everything.
Of course, picking an electric toothbrush is the first step in introducing one to your little one’s routine and there are important things to consider. Firstly, you need to pick one that’s age-appropriate. This one from Oral-B is for younger children aged from three, while they do another version for older primary school-aged kids so it’s worth checking carefully. Then you’ll need to consider which additional features you want, such as a timer, motivational gimmick or accompanying app. Last but not least, there’s the most difficult choice – whether you think your child will get on better with an oscillating or sonic head.
Many studies have proven that electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual brushing, but there is no clear leader when it comes to the type of technology. Both of Oral-B’s kids’ brushes have oscillating heads. We’ll go into the pros and cons later, but you certainly get a decent clean.
And while you're looking at electric toothbrushes, then maybe you should also consider upgrading your brush by reading our guide to the best electric toothbrushes for adults.
The Oral-B Kids Electric Toothbrush probably looks familiar, because it so closely resembles the brand’s most popular model for adults. Every detail is more or less the same – only a little smaller and more colourful.
Of course, one difference is the theme – Disney Princesses. The brush’s pink colour fits the theme and the pack contains four stickers. There’s a Spider-Man alternative too. While the themes are great fun and may motivate little Disney or Marvel fans to brush twice daily, there is a danger that when they move on to another fad, it could render their toothbrush undesirable. But you could choose not to apply the stickers if this is a concern, so you could replace the themed head with a plain one in a few months’ time.
Overall, the brush fits nicely in little hands and does absolutely everything you would want it to for a small price. There are certainly more stylish and ergonomic brushes that look more grownup and high end out there, but they tend to cost a lot more.
When it comes to features, this brush does everything you might expect. While we’ll elaborate on its cleaning potential later, the brush head clicks on and off easily, making it simple to replace, not to mention that you can find packs of heads in most supermarkets. There are extra-soft bristles for young mouths and an indicator that signals it’s time to change the brush head.
The brush comes with a charger, although it’s not USB-compatible which might, or might not appeal to you, depending on your preference. The rechargeable battery lasts up to five days. That’s a decent amount of time and it doesn’t take long to recharge the brush, but it is much less than Foreo’s more expensive Issa Kids toothbrush, for example.
The last feature doesn’t come in a box but is a nice selling point. The brush is compatible with the Disney MagicTimer app by Oral-B, which can be downloaded onto a phone. The brush doesn’t pair with or interact with the app, but it’s a bonus that might help a child reach the dentist-recommended two minutes. My daughter enjoyed choosing a character and seeing her progress in the app, which also includes cute animations. In fact, Oral-B says nine out of 10 kids will brush longer with the MagicTimer.
Overall, this brush offers an awful lot of features for its very reasonable price. It’s definitely a hit in our house.
Cleaning and performance
Of course, the most important feature of any toothbrush is its ability to clean teeth and this is where the Oral-B brush (and my child’s teeth) shines. The brush has extra-soft bristles for young mouths, which is important for keeping little gums healthy. It has a circular rotating head to surround and clean multiple surfaces, which is brilliant if you have an independent child hell-bent on brushing their own teeth. If this is the case, an oscillating head is a great choice as it requires less skill than a sonic one.
The only downside is that the head is quite deep, so it can be tricky cleaning your child’s very back molars. If they are at the youngest end of the toothbrush’s suitability this might be a bit of a concern – I had trouble with my daughter’s back molars - but older (and more cooperative) children shouldn’t find it an issue.
It's hard to judge the performance of any toothbrush after just two weeks of testing, so we can’t say if it removes more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush like Oral-B claims. But, it’s very likely that it does, as my daughter brushes longer with this brush than she does with a regular one and I’m sure the rotating head does a better job of getting into all the little nooks and crannies of her teeth than I do with a manual brush.
The Oral-B Kids Electric Toothbrush does everything you need it to and offers some fun features in the form of stickers and the Disney app for an incredible price point. The only drawbacks are the depth of the head and possibly the stickers shortening the brush’s longevity.
Foreo’s Issa Kids brush may feel nicer and last longer on a single charge, but it’s more than double the price, so this brush deserves top marks for doing most things incredibly well, while still being affordable – and being able to pick up replacement heads almost anywhere is a huge bonus for busy mums and dads. Like the Disney theme, this brush is pretty magical.