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Your teething baby is irritable, drooling, and gnawing on everything in sight. As soon as that first pearly white erupts, it’s time to add another toothbrush to the toothbrush holder! The best baby toothbrushes gently clean teeth while making the process a positive experience, setting the tone for future oral health.
We reached out to Dr. Erin Issac, a pediatric dentist, to help you choose the right toothbrush for your little one.
Dr. Erin Issac is a board-certified pediatric dentist at Winning Smiles in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in neurobiology and physiology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and went on to earn her Doctor of Dental Medicine in Dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Issac earned a certificate in pediatric dentistry at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. She is a member of the American Dental Association.
When Can I Use A Toothbrush On My Baby?
Before the age of 1, Dr. Issac recommends a silicone finger brush, which “feels great on gums when babies are teething.” She notes that once a baby starts chewing on the finger brush, it’s time for a traditional brush.
“A toothbrush [with a handle] can be introduced at any point once teeth come in, but I especially recommend it once back teeth (molars) have started coming in,” explains Dr. Issac.
What About Toothpaste?
It’s safe — and recommended — to use fluoride toothpaste as soon as your baby is older than 6 months (and their first tooth has come in). Supervision is key and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a rice-sized smear of toothpaste until 3 years old and a pea-sized amount from 3 to 6 years old.
How Do I Choose The Best Baby Toothbrush?
The market is flooded with a dizzying selection of toothbrushes for babies and toddlers. But the best baby toothbrushes have a few things in common according to Dr. Issac: “Make sure it has a compact, soft bristle head. Usually one with a big handle works well as kids will want to try to hold it themselves.”
She says baby toothbrushes should be replaced just as often as adult toothbrushes. She recommends, “every 3 to 4 months, or sooner if the baby has just been sick or the bristles are really worn down.”
When Can Baby Use An Electric Toothbrush?
“Electric brushes, when used properly, are a great option for kids! I recommend waiting until kids are a bit older, maybe kindergarten or first grade age at the youngest,” says Dr. Issac.
She says it’s important to find one that’s sized correctly. She explains, “Some of them, even the kid-focused ones, have such a large head that it's hard to get the electric toothbrush around to the back teeth, so then those teeth aren't cleaned thoroughly. Also be sure to be gentle on the gums.”
1. The Overall Best Baby Toothbrush
This high-quality, adorable toothbrush combines function with squee-worthy design. The flamingo-shaped handle makes maneuvering around a little mouth easy and it’s just as graspable for tiny fingers. The materials are baby-proof as one reviewer explains, “[My baby] has gnawed on every portion of it without the material breaking.” This BPA-free toothbrush has soft but sturdy bristles for gently cleaning little teeth and comes in the above-pictured flamingo, as well as dinosaur, crocodile, and otter shapes.
Helpful Review: “I bought this for my 16 month old daughter and it's the perfect size for her little mouth and teeth! The brush is soft and gentle! The flamingo design is both adorable and makes it easier for my little one to hold! The suction cup on the bottom is great to keep the Flamingo standing up and toothbrush clean from countertop germs! Great product, highly recommend!”
Recommended Age: 1 to 4 years
2. The Best Baby Toothbrush Set
Featuring two different styles of baby toothbrushes, the Frida Grow-With-Me training toothbrush set has triple-angle brushes that hug teeth. Perfect for wiggly kids, parents love how “this gets the front and back of the tooth at the same time [when] time is of the essence!” The brush works great for little ones who want to brush their own teeth but are new to maneuvering a toothbrush to reach all sides of their teeth. The stage one brush has food-grade silicone bristles and a safety stopper to prevent gagging and injury. The stage two brush has a colored “time to toss” indicator that lets you know when you need a new toothbrush and a handy suction cup on the base.
Helpful Review: “My baby is doing so well with this tooth brush. Amazing product for [babies] getting teeth. I really think its helping him learn how to brush his teeth. And is easy for him to hold. Love it! Recommended it!”
Recommended Age: Stage 1 Brush: 6+ months, Stage 2 Brush: 18+ months
3. The Best Baby Finger Toothbrush
A finger brush offers a gentle way to clean sore gums and sprouting teeth. This 100% silicone brush is soft and BPA-free. The brush is double-sided so it can clean the top and bottom teeth at the same time. Because it’s clear, parents say it’s easy to see if there’s any buildup on it and cleaning is a breeze in the dishwasher or bottle sterilizer. Many reviewers noted that it comes with a little plastic case, making it easy to keep it clean and avoid losing it during travel.
Helpful Review: “Easy to use, soft, good quality material that hasn’t gotten grimy. I love the design, the fact that it fits on your finger makes it easy to use on a squirmy little one, great way to get him used to having his teeth brushed until he is old enough to cooperate for a real toothbrush. My baby opens his mouth when he sees me put the toothpaste on it [...] and it’s great that it’s easy to take care of his baby teeth (four of them and counting!)”
Recommended Age: 3 months+
4. The Best Toothbrush For Little Ones That Want To Use a Big Kid Brush
A petite version of your own toothbrush, the Colgate My First Toothbrush has a small cushioned oval-shaped head designed for little mouths. You can trust this brush to maintain its bristles despite some gnawing. One parent said, “This is a great toothbrush for my toddler. It is gentle enough for his little mouth and helps him learn the good habit of brushing his teeth! […]” The brushes also have a colored dot on the bristles to help you measure out the correct amount of toothpaste. With this set of four, you won’t need to run to the store if (when?) your little one somehow drops it in the toilet.
Helpful Review: “Great toothbrush for our 14 month old! He even likes to try to brush his teeth himself.”
Recommended Age: 0 to 2 years
5. The Best Double-Sided Infant Toothbrush
This innovative brush features two rows of soft, tapered bristles which clean the top and bottom teeth simultaneously. The ergonomic handle and choke-protection shield make this a great brush for babies that want to help brush their own teeth. Rest assured, the brush is free of phthalates, PVC, BPA, and lead. It also comes with a free silicone finger brush. “I can actually get more teeth brushed more quickly before my squirmy toddler begins to protest,” said one reviewer.
Helpful Review: “If my child could tell you what he hated most in his 15 months on this earth he would immediately say ‘when mom and dad brush my teeth.’ Needless to say we were desperate to find a solution so we wouldn’t have a child who lived at the dentist due to cavities. Ta-da! He now not only let’s us brush his teeth but he wants to do it himself too!! We have to distract him to take it away! Thank you for creating this product to make this process easier!”
Recommended Age: 6 months to 4 years
6. The Best Baby Toothbrush Teether
A must-buy teether that doubles as a brush, the Baby Banana is a hit with over 26,000 reviewers on Amazon (myself included!). The banana is made in the U.S. with soft, flexible food-grade silicone that is BPA-, latex-, and phthalate-free. It can be frozen to soothe sore gums and it’s dishwasher safe. It can also be sanitized by boiling for ten minutes. The handles make it easy for little fingers to grasp and it can stand up to plenty of abuse. The banana is the perfect length so babies can reach those pesky back teeth for soothing but can’t hurt themselves falling with it in their mouths.
Helpful Review: “My daughter loves this Toothbrush so much. She loves it so much that at 18 months old she wants to brush her own teeth and I have to beg for her to let me do it. She also uses it as a teething ring. I love the material. It is easy to clean and sanitize. I have recommended to all of my friends with children younger than my daughter and they are loving it as well. This is a great item to buy to introduce your little one to oral care. And if you have a child like mine who started getting teeth way early this will be a life saver. [...]”
Recommended Age: 3 to 12 months
7. The Best Affordable Baby Toothbrush Set
This Scandinavian brand offers a quality set of brushes at a stash-them-all-over-the-house price. The BPA- and phthalate-free brushes have an indicator on the bristles for using the right amount of toothpaste and the round handle helps prevent gagging and also functions as a teething ring.
Helpful Review: “I am a dentist and I bought this brush for my baby and my niece. I loved the variety pack of colors. These are great for kids from their first tooth until 2-3 years. My son loves chewing on his and the bristles have held up nicely. It's easy for him to hold and easy for me to hold while I brush his teeth and gums. I will purchase again in the future and would recommend this brush for quality and price.”
Recommended Age: 12 months to 2 years
8. The Best Organic Baby Toothbrush
Reduce plastic waste with Rain’s brush, which is made with organic, biodegradable, and splinter-free bamboo wood and soft BPA-free bristles. The toothbrush comes in an unbleached recycled paper box. The rounded handle is smooth and easy to grip, featuring a cute bunny at the end to appeal to little ones. Reviewers noted the brush is flat at the bottom, letting you stand it on end to drain the bristles and keep it clean.
Helpful Review: “I found the answer to my quest of getting an eco-friendly and sustainable toothbrush for my toddler! I love this toothbrush! It's the perfect size and has a cute bunny design to make brushing teeth fun and painless as the BPA free bristles are extra soft! And, I really appreciate that I can recycle the packaging. I highly recommend this product!”
Recommended Age: 12+ months
9. The Best Electric Toothbrush For Older Tots
This highly rated electric toothbrush is a great choice as your tot gets a bit older. It has a “disco light” flashing timer to make brushing a little more exciting — and parents will love that it also indicates when it’s time to move the brush head around the mouth so no tooth is left behind. The battery-powered brush has IPX7 waterproof rating to ensure that it won’t break if your kiddo is a heavy rinser. It features soft, BPA-free bristles designed to get into all the crannies that plaque likes to linger. Bonus: it comes with three replaceable heads but additional replacement heads can be purchased separately. We love this rocket design but it also comes in four other whimsical animal designs.
Helpful Review: “I bought this as a way to encourage my (almost) 3 year old to brush his teeth. With a child that thinks brushing is sucking off the toothpaste, this toothbrush has added an extra source of fun. Press the button once and the lights flash, press the button twice and it vibrates. He’s a little happier with me going over his teeth with this, he tries himself too. It’s his big boy toothbrush. It’s lasted well and I’d be happy to repurchase if needed.”
Recommended Age: 3 years+
Expert: Dr. Erin Issac, a board-certified pediatric dentist at Winning Smiles