What Those Coloured Bristles On Your Child's Toothbrush Are Really For

We better start using less toothpaste...

A mum has shared a revelation about what the coloured bristles on her child’s toothbrush are for.

Far from being purely an aesthetically-pleasing design feature, Holly Benn, from Southport, explained on Facebook that she had just learned the bristles were intended to be a visual indicator of how much toothpaste you should be using and where you should be putting it (especially helpful if you’re teaching a child).

Toothbrush manufacturer Wisdom has confirmed to HuffPost UK that this is true of their toothbrushes for children aged 0-2 years old. For this age group the coloured bristles demonstrate the correct ‘smear’ quantity of toothpaste.

However this rule does not apply to Wisdom’s toothbrushes for children aged three-five and six+. Instead they recommend using a pea-size drop of toothpaste for children aged from three years old.

Benn’s message was shared by Little Learners, a preschool company that offers educational messy play for babies to preschoolers, and it clearly resonated with lots of parents as the post was shared more than 5,000 times in one week, with many saying they also used more than the recommended amount of toothpaste.

Dentists previously shared advice on how to encourage kids to look after their teeth, with HuffPost UK:

Dr Ben Atkins, clinical director of Revive Dental Care and trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “Get them to pick a toothbrush with their favourite character on. Brush along to their favourite song, there are apps which you can use to do this.”

Claire Stevens, president of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry, said children will understand the importance of tooth brushing if they see their parents taking care of their teeth. She also advised toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste as soon as first teeth come through.

“After the age of one, try and make sure that the last thing on your baby’s teeth at night is fluoride toothpaste,” she said. “Once your child has finished brushing their teeth, it’s important to spit and not rinse the mouth. Dentists like the fluoride to stay working in the mouth for as long as possible.”