Granted, to your kid, an electric toothbrush might not seem like the most exciting gift to find under the tree or in their stocking – well, unless it’s tricked out with pictures of their favorite cartoon characters, perhaps, or plays songs certain to drive you nuts before the month is through.
But it could be one of the most beneficial.
That’s because new research shows that electric brushes may help them reduce plaque and gingivitis (early gum disease) more than manual toothbrushes. And they’re definitely more exciting than manual brushes, even if they’re not as thrilling as a Nintendo Switch; a big Harry Potter Squishmallow; a copy of Super Mario Bros. Wonder; or an Elmo Slide Singing and Dancing Plush.
The study was published recently in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry and followed two groups of kids for four weeks. One group consisted of kids age 3 to 6 whose parents brushed their teeth for them; the other, 7 to 10-year olds who brushed on their own. Some kids used an Oral-B electric brush, while others used a manual brush.
The kids’ plaque and gingival health scores were taken at the start of the study and at the end. While both types of brushes worked, the comparison of results showed that the electric brushes were demonstrably better.
More than half of the youngest kids had greater overall plaque reduction with the electric brush. Nearly all of the older kids did, as well – almost 95% – and had especially good results when it came to reducing plaque in the back of the mouth. That’s an area that even adults have a tough time cleaning well.
The older kids also had 14% more reduction of gingivitis with the electric brush through their whole mouth and 18.8% more reduction in the back of their mouth.
Given the prevalence of caries and gingivitis [tooth decay and gum disease] in young children, the impact of early plaque on future oral health and the dearth of published studies of long-term O–R [oscillating/rotating] toothbrush use in young children, the current study offers a unique and clinically relevant insight into the efficacy of O–R toothbrushes with respect to the reduction in plaque and gingivitis in children with primary dentition as well as in children with mixed dentition.
The analysis of 3- to 10-year-old children showed that the reduction in both plaque and gingivitis was significantly more among O–R brush users than among manual brush users. This was true for both the whole mouth and the posterior teeth.
So consider putting a power toothbrush in your kids’ stockings this year and helping each of them use it regularly, twice a day. They may not show too much gratitude now, but when they’re grown up with healthy mouths that support good overall health and well-being, they’re bound to be grateful – not just for their healthy teeth and gums, but the lower dental and medical costs from taking a proactive, preventive approach to oral care from the start.