For the past six years, enticing my 4- and 6-year-old boys to brush their teeth has been a (twice daily) battle. Fearless, competitive and playful, my boys are a delight — until it comes to teeth brushing, when their inability to stand still means I have to threaten and cajole them into brushing their teeth for even a few seconds, let alone the recommended two minutes. I’ve tried many options: toothbrushes plastered with cartoon characters, toothbrushes masquerading as dinosaurs, and revolting fruity toothpastes that tasted nothing like the fruit they were supposed to mimic. I’ve even shown my children photos of decaying teeth to terrify them into submission. It didn’t work.
Then, earlier this year at a playdate with my kids’ school friends, I noticed a line of electric toothbrushes on the bathroom windowsill. Their mum, I discovered, had encountered the same problems I did. But now, thanks to the novelty of a buzzing brush, she told me with glee, her children were now model teeth-brushing citizens. Considering I cleaned my kids’ teeth like a vet performing a dental exam on a donkey, I figured it wouldn’t be hard to inject a little more joy.
On Prime Day this year I searched for an electric toothbrush for children 4 years old and up, which cost under £20 and was rechargeable. The Fairywill Sonic Toothbrush (£15.99, Amazon) met the criteria but it was the reviews (“Finally managed to get my little boy to brush his teeth properly.” “It’s no longer a fight.”) that convinced me they could be a match for my stubborn brushers.
It worked. That evening there were no arguments over “teeth time”: The boys gleefully held their yellow-and-turquoise, bunny-ear-adorned brushes like lightsabers. For the first time in years, I didn’t have to block the bathroom door to stop them scurrying out and hiding in their room.
[Editor’s note: This product is currently out of stock.]
Not only were the brushes cute, the soft bristles were capable of standing up to the boisterous brushing of young children, and the waterproof casing meant they could dunk them in the bath without reproach. Helpful parental intel: Each brush has a tongue cleaner on the back of the head, comes with a spare head (further ones can be bought on Amazon for £9.99 for a pack of four) and the battery, which is charged via a USB port, lasts up to 21 days.
The Fairywill pauses every 30 seconds, and there’s a beep after the fourth repetition (one for each quarter of the mouth) to signal two minutes of brushing. It has given my fiercely independent children agency — something that never fails to bring them pride — while allowing me to listen for the beep that confirms they’ve served their time. For once, my kids’ competitiveness is a bonus — they like to see who gets to the beep first (time is still abstract to them, thankfully).
Some other kids toothbrushes we like
When we asked dentists to recommend the best toothbrushes for children, Mayur N. Pandya, dentist and chief clinical officer of Together Dental told us about Colgate’s range. “Colgate Kids and Oral-B have some great ones, like this Trolls toothbrush, which turn brushing your teeth into a game.” The battery-powered toothbrush has a gentle oscillating action, and lies flat, which can help kids learn to put the toothpaste on by themselves. Pandya says these “beginner” electric toothbrushes “makes it easy to start healthy brushing habits.”
This Oral-B toothbrush, which is for ages 6–12, also came recommended. Experts told us to look for look for electric toothbrushes with “soft” settings, such as gum care or pressure sensors. “Features like gum-pressure control and a timer can help kids develop oral-care habits, and help them learn to brush independently, too,” says Pandya.
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