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Can a 2-Year-Old Use a Regular Toothbrush?


Dental care tools like toothpaste and toothbrushes are essential for toddlers to develop healthy gums, and strong teeth. So, can toddlers use adult toothbrushes?

A 2-year-old should not use a regular toothbrush that grownups use. At this age, kids have just learned to brush their teeth and may find it difficult using large toothbrushes with abrasive bristles. With their tiny mouths, handling regular toothbrushes that are not designed for them will be difficult.

Keep reading to discover more about why a toddler cannot use a regular toothbrush. This article will also give some recommendations for toothbrushes that your toddler should use instead of an adult one.

Can a two year old use a regular toothbrush?

Why 2-Year-Olds Can’t Use Regular Toothbrushes

As soon as a child’s first tooth emerges, brushing the inside of their mouths with a toothbrush and some toothpaste is essential. As they grow older, the types of toothbrushes and toothpaste dentists recommend to them will also change.

Your goal is to optimize your toddler’s oral care so they grow up with healthy gums, strong, white teeth, and pleasant breath. When you shop for toiletries for your toddler, you should, therefore, follow your dentist’s recommendations. 

Three features of regular (or adult) toothbrushes make them unfit for 2-year-old toddlers to use. These features are:

  • Bristles
  • Size
  • Design

I’ll discuss these features in more detail below. 

Regular Toothbrush Bristles Are Too Hard for a Toddler

Regular toothbrushes are often hard-bristled. These kinds of toothbrushes are unsuitable for toddlers aged 1 to 3, as their gums are only just developing and too sensitive. The hard bristles would be too harsh for their gums, which can cause bleeding gums (source).

Most good-quality toddler toothbrushes have extra-soft bristles with rounded tips to prevent accidental gum damage. 

Even though it’s the hardest substance in the body, tooth enamel can also begin to wear down due to the firmness of the bristles.

These adverse effects of regular toothbrushes on a growing mouth should make you want to avoid them for your toddler. Ensure that any toothbrush you select for your toddler has suitable bristles for their age so they can comfortably brush their teeth every day!

Regular Toothbrush Heads Are Too Large for a Toddler’s Mouth

When choosing a toothbrush for your toddler, consider the size of the toothbrush relative to the size of your kid’s mouth. Regular toothbrushes don’t have brush heads that would fit into a small toddler’s mouth. 

Even if the adult toothbrush has a smaller head, it wouldn’t clean a toddler’s small teeth effectively as it has been designed for larger, adult teeth. Using a regular toothbrush could, therefore, promote plaque build-up on some of the inclined teeth. 

With this in mind, choose a toothbrush with a brush head size that is appropriate for the toddler’s age. The appropriate size should fit into their mouths easily, allowing them to brush their teeth easily.

Most toothbrush manufacturers package their products with age recommendations to help you decide which toothbrush is right for your toddler. 

Regular Toothbrush Designs Are Not Suitable for Toddlers

Trying to brush your toddler’s teeth when you can’t get them to stay still for a few minutes can be a hassle. Toddlers are also naturally inquisitive, and it can sometimes be challenging stopping them from chewing off the toothbrush bristles or licking off the toothpaste. 

However, an excellent way to help them concentrate on brushing their teeth is to use a toothbrush that grabs their attention. Toothbrushes aimed at toddlers have fun designs and interesting shapes to help them focus.

You could let your toddler choose their own toothbrush to encourage them to enjoy brushing their teeth. Examples of toddler toothbrush themes include: 

  • Spider-man
  • Barbie
  • Trucks
  • Glitter or sparkles
  • Stripes in primary colors

The Best Toothbrushes for 2-Year Olds

When you’re out shopping for a toothbrush for your toddler, you may find it challenging to figure out which one is best because there is such a wide variety. The best toothbrush should be one offering good oral hygiene and one that catches your toddler’s eye.   

Here’s a list of four excellent toddler toothbrush products for you to consider: 

Fridababy Triple-Angle Toothhugger Training Toothbrush

This toothbrush is highly efficient, which isn’t something you’d expect considering the fact that it’s manual. The brush head has three angles to ensure that every corner of the mouth is covered.

Check pricing on this Training Toothbrush for Toddlers (link to Amazon).

This toothbrush is also easy for a child to handle because it’s small and offers a good grip.

BrushBaby BabySonic Infant and Toddler Electric Toothbrush

The BrushBaby electric toothbrush (link to Amazon) has a brush head that lights up so you can see what’s going on in your toddler’s mouth. The LED light has the added benefit of providing some entertainment for your toddler during teeth brushing, making it a fun experience. 

It also features a two-minute, smart timer and has slightly gentler vibrations than other electric toothbrushes.

Solimo Kids Battery Powered Toothbrush

The Solimo Kids toothbrush (link to Amazon) features a small, oscillating brush head with soft bristles that gently sweep across the teeth. 

It is battery-operated, and easy to use with its simple on/off button. With a child-friendly handle, it’s very easy for a toddler to hold.

Dr. Brown’s Infant-to-Toddler Training Toothbrush

This toothbrush adds a fun element to make toothbrushing enjoyable for your toddler.

The brush has your choice of a giraffe or elephant-themed figure at the base so that you can leave it upright and reduce the risk of germs. The animal part is made from soft material that is gentle on the child’s mouth.

Check pricing on Dr. Brown’s Training Toothbrush (link to Amazon).


Getting your child to be orally hygienic is not difficult as long as you have the right toothbrush that makes it a fun and exciting habit for them. Let them have the most attractive toothbrush that softly gets their mouth fresh and clean, and they’ll be eager to brush their teeth each time!

Author Notes:
Teresa is a Registered Nurse in the State of Texas and the mother of two. Opinions and insights on childcare are based on professional knowledge, academic research, and personal experience.

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