Finger brush vs Toothbrush for babies

little boy smiling with teeth

If you’ve parented a teething baby, you’ll have had the debate of finger brush vs toothbrush at some point. Milk teeth may not be around for the rest of your baby’s life but you do still need to take good care of them. Any gum problems may be long lasting. It’s also important to get your little one into the habit of caring for their teeth as soon as they get them. Whether they enjoy doing so or not. Having the most comfortable tool for both yourself and baby can make the process fun. I’m going to share how the finger toothbrush worked for us vs a baby toothbrush.

We’ve gone through quite a few tools in this household. From muslin cloths for a few weeks when her first two came in, to the finger brush, to alternating between that and a toothbrush, and now toothbrushes only. We use two different toothbrushes right now. One in the morning and another in the evening. That’s for no other reason than to give her something different to look forward to. It makes it a bit more interesting. I can give you the lowdown on how the finger brush worked vs the toothbrush! I’ll also let you know which was most effective for us

Toothbrushes we’ve loved so far

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MAM Learn to brush set

It’s my favourite toothbrush so far because of the soft handle and the removable mouth guard.

This is my favourite and we use it in the mornings. They come in a set of two. The red bristles in the centre of the brushes serve as a guide as to how much toothpaste you should be using.

I’d say the bristles are too hard if you’ve got a child younger than around 12 months or a child who’s just started to get their teeth not too long ago. It’s labelled as suitable from birth but I’d struggle to recommend them to a 6 month old, for example.

One of the brushes in the set has a smaller, round head with a longer handle and appears to be more suitable for younger babies. The other has a squarer head with a rounded top and a shorter handle. 

Mam baby toothbrush with mouth guard kinunplugged
MAM baby brush

Why we love it

My little girl started using it around 14 months old. It’s my favourite toothbrush so far because of the soft handle and the removable mouth guard.

The fact that the guard is removable is one that I didn’t realize until a few weeks into use so take note and don’t throw it away with the brush when you’re done with it!

The soft handle means she can comfortably chew at it (she’s still teething and enjoys having something to chew on). The mouth guard ensures that she can’t push it too far back into her throat. That safety feature is a huge plus for me. She doesn’t need it anymore though. As you can see from the photo below, she uses it without the guard and is perfectly fine. Once they get used to “using” a toothbrush, you won’t need it. The fact that the guard is removable is one that I didn’t realize until a few weeks into use so take note and don’t throw it away with the brush when you’re done with it! You can use it for the second brush in the pack or even for another brush if it fits. It’s very easy to use and has a good grip.  She loves her “bear” brush!

Wisdom Step-by-Step baby toothbrush (0-2 years)

It has a short, flat and wide handle which makes it perfect for her little fingers to easily navigate. Being wide also means a lower risk of it going too far into her mouth by mistake. I know it’s advertised as being suitable from age 0 but I wouldn’t recommend it for a child younger than 18 months.

Wisdom baby toothbrush Kin Unplugged
Wisdom baby brush

Even then, you’d have to know for sure that they’ve got the manual skill to be able to handle a brush, as simple as this one is. The bristles are soft enough for an almost 2 year old who’s used to munching on highly textured foods. For a younger child who’s more used mushier textures in their mouths or have only just recently developed teeth though, I’d say that the bristles are too hard.

Rubber bristle brushes

When our little girl cut her first teeth just after 4 months old, I knew I had to get her something but I also knew that brushes with traditional bristles would NOT work. I found ones here in Germany – Babylove brand from DM – called a Dental Care learning set. It was a set of two made up of brushes with plastic-free rubber bristles. One with a rounded head and one with a flat head more similar to a traditional toothbrush. It worked great and she seemed to love them for her sore, teething gums.

I believe MAM makes some similar to those (HERE) and NUK does as well (HERE). She wasn’t using them for very long before I moved on to using a finger brush (below). Looking at the rubber bristles, I always thought there was the risk of her sharp little teeth wearing them down with time. I was worried about the risk of swallowing them. I’d be cautious of that when purchasing any of these.

The Banana brush

I heard SO much about this when I was researching what to get my daughter initially. I just happened to lay my hands on the Babylove rubber brushes first, or else I’d have got this instead. Just looking at it online, I can see why it’s raved about so much. The banana peel handles must make for an easy grip.

The handles also would serve as a mouth guard and it’s narrow enough to reach far into a child’s mouth. It’s also too short to be a choking hazard. On the other hand, the bristles look like they could also be gnawed off with time. I suppose that’d be the biggest risk I can see with any of these rubber bristled brushes. 

Have you tried the banana brush? Did you like it?

Finger brush vs Toothbrush
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The finger brush we’ve enjoyed & would recommend

You’ll find there are many options for baby finger toothbrushes out there. A ton. I only tried one though and we were lucky enough to love it so much that we stuck with it for over a year. It was the Bickiepegs brand.

The bristles never fell off and it’s easy to ensure that it’s well cleaned as it’s made of clear material and you can see through to the base of it. 

Bickiepegs & why we love it

The “bristles” are soft enough to not cause an injury but also tough enough to do a good job of brushing those little teeth. My little also enjoyed just chewing on it on her most uncomfortable teething days. I love that it gives the control of brushing that a toothbrush wouldn’t give. That’s because your finger is literally in their mouths and you can make sure you’ve gotten round every single tooth. The bristles never fell off and it’s easy to ensure that it’s well cleaned. It’s made of clear material and you can see through to the base of it. 

Finger brush vs Toothbrush: In conclusion…

On the whole, I’d always suggest a finger brush be used as the primary tool for teeth cleaning for babies. At least, for as long as possible. Traditional baby brushes or even ones with rubber bristles are good for them to practice with and to chew on. Particularly when they’re going through the uncomfortable teething stage. However, to get the combined effect of a good clean and gum massage, I found that the finger brush was ideal. I wouldn’t be averse to going back to using it again in the future if I need to!

Have you tried finger brushes for your little one? Which do you prefer – a toothbrush or a finger brush?

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Sonia Seivwright

    Aww babies are so cute. I am sharing this to my friend who is expecting any day now.

  2. Anitra

    I think that both are actually beneficial to use I used both when my girls were infants.

  3. Cathy

    Thanks for this product review. It sounds good and I’ll recommend to my friends as my kid is no longer a baby.

    1. Kin Unplugged

      I hope your friends find it helpful!

  4. Rella

    This is so helpful! My little one is 6months with 6 teeth and I have had the hardest time finding a toothbrush.

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