Somewhere between months six and 10, you can expect to see baby’s first tooth start to poke through those tiny gums. A great way to celebrate this major milestone? By getting a baby toothbrush! That brand-new baby tooth can be cleaned right from the get-go, since it’s susceptible to tooth decay. Plus, by getting baby used to the routine early on, you might have less trouble getting your kid to independently brush once the toddler and preschool years roll around.
When it comes to selecting a baby or toddler toothbrush, there are a few different kinds to choose from:
• A baby gum brush cleans an infant’s gums before or as the first teeth emerge. Many gum brushes can fit on your finger like a thimble, while others come in wipe form that you can wrap around your finger. You don’t necessarily need toothpaste with either of these, since the wiping action will handle the cleaning. Plus, gum brushes work best in mouths that are less toothy and more gummy.
• A teether toothbrush is a nubby teether that, in addition to relieving gum pain, cleans baby’s mouth. You don’t need toothpaste for this either, since baby’s chewing scrapes and cleans the teeth on its own.
• A first baby toothbrush is a tiny brush with soft bristles. Use it with a dab of fluoride-free toothpaste.
• A baby or toddler electric toothbrush is a pretty new concept, but it does exist! Like adult electric toothbrushes, they can do a lot of the scrubbing work for you. Add a bit of baby toothpaste and wave the brush across baby’s teeth and gums while it whirs.
• A toddler toothbrush is built for independent tots to hold and power themselves. You may need to offer some lessons (and lots of cheerleading), but the payoff are easy-breezy dental visits. Use fluoride-free toothpaste until age 3 unless your child’s dentist suggests otherwise.
When choosing a toothbrush, pay attention to the age-grading to find a brush that’s best suited to your child’s needs. Not sure where to start? Sink your teeth into this list of best baby and toddler toothbrush options out there.
Dr. Brown’s Tooth & Gum Wipes
Safe even for newborns, these wipes have a naturally derived fruit taste, which helps win babies over and leave their mouths smelling sweet. (Think babies can’t have bad breath? Moms of infants with bad reflux may beg to differ.) Wiping baby’s mouth gets riskier once your kiddo sprouts upper and lower teeth and has an impulse to bite down, but these are a great option for the months when she’s mostly gummy.
Buy it: For 0 months+, $8 for 30, Amazon.com
Grins & Giggles Infant 3-Sided Fingerbrush Set
To scrub your little one’s gums and new teeth, wear this baby toothbrush over the top of your index finger and use it with a dab of toothpaste, included. A channel of nubby bristles lets you clean the front, back and top of a tooth simultaneously. It’s like training wheels as you make your way to “real” toothbrush time!
Buy it: For 3 months+, $4, Walmart.com
Baby Banana Brush
This banana-shaped brush is one of the best baby toothbrush options around—and not just because it’s ridiculously cute. The silicone teething toothbrush also boasts a pretty genius design: It’s easy for baby to hold and gnaw on himself, both relieving his teething pain and cleaning his teeth.
Buy it: For 0 - 12 months, $9, Target.com
Nuby Tooth and Gum Care Set
Start by using the Stage 1 brush with soft silicone bristles to wipe baby’s gums clean. By the time your little one is around 6 months old and gripping things, you can hand her the Stage 2 gum massager; it’ll clean her gums while she chews it like a teether. You’ll take over again with the Stage 3 baby toothbrush to clean those new teeth. The final Stage 4 brush is a nylon-bristled toothbrush with gentle scrubbing power.
Buy it: For 0 to 6 months, $5, Walmart.com
Jordan Step 1 Baby Toothbrush
This baby toothbrush has a teething ring on one side and a bristle brush on the other; you can use the brush end to clean baby’s teeth, and he can use the teether end to massage his sore gums. Bonus feature: The toothbrush head has a colored indicator to let you know how much fluoride-free toothpaste to add.
Buy it: For 0 to 2 years, $12 for four, Amazon.com
Colgate My First Baby and Toddler Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Colgate’s baby toothbrush looks like one a school-age sibling might use, but it’s actually designed for babies and young toddlers—perfect for making your tot feel like a big kid. It’s sold with fruit-flavored, fluoride-free toothpaste.
Buy it: For 0 to 2 years, $5, Walmart.com
Want to make brushing fun from the get-go? This finger puppet toothbrush—winner of Best of Baby 2018—comes in four different colorful characters and coordinating storybooks to liven up your toothbrushing routine. Plus, it's made of 100 percent food-grade silicone and without any BPA, latex or phthalates.
Buy it: For 4 weeks to 4 years, $17, TheBrushies.com
MAM Learn to Brush Set
This is a great first set of bristled brushes. The training toothbrush has a longer handle so you and your kiddo can hang on as you show her how to brush. When she’s ready, your child can take over with the short-handled brush and try using it on her own. Other nice-to-have features include a safety shield to prevent the toothbrush from going too far into baby’s mouth, and colored bristled that indicate the correct amount of toothpaste to use.
Buy it: For 6 months+, $8, Amazon.com
Radius Pure Baby Toothbrush
If baby has super-sensitive gums, this may be the best baby toothbrush for him: Parents say they love the Radius’s exceptionally soft bristles. It’s made without any synthetic dyes and sized especially for babies 6 to 18 months—and since you get three to a pack, you can swap out for a new one every four months without needing to repurchase.
Buy it: For 6 to 18 months, $10 for three, Amazon.com
Brush-Baby BabySonic Electric Toothbrush
Use the teeny baby-sized brush head for the first 18 months, then switch to the toddler-sized head until age 3. The vibrating action of this toddler electric toothbrush makes for an easy, deep cleaning, and the built-in timer light lets your little one know how long to brush for. It even pulses every 30 seconds for a fun countdown!
Buy it: For 0 to 3 years, $14, Amazon.com
SmileFrida the Toothhugger
Toddlers aren’t always the most thorough of cleaners. Luckily, the SmileFrida is designed for tots who could use some help getting to every corner of their mouth: The triple-angled bristles blast away plaque by hugging the teeth and cleaning all sides at once. Bonus: The suction-cup bottom keeps the brush upright on your sink, so you don’t have to constantly bend over and pick it up off the ground.
Buy it: For 18 months+, $10, Fridababy.com
Updated May 2018
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