Considering the mundane job they're supposed to do, kids' toothbrushes look and sound a lot like toys. Beyond their playful appearance, the latest products also feature an educational component that focuses on good oral health care.
On their websites, manufacturers address dental health issues that are common with children, such as teething, the role of nutrition, proper brushing techniques, cavity prevention, plaque, flossing and visiting the dentist.
While parents seek products that will appeal to their kids, they also need assurances that the products are healthy and safe. Procter & Gamble works with professional medical and dental organizations to develop new items, said Laura Brinker, a spokeswoman for the Cincinnati-based consumer packaged goods giant. P&G's products for kids include Crest toothpaste and the Oral-B Stages toothbrushes.
“With our kids' business, we try to have the proper balance of education, health and fun,” said Brinker. “An element of fun is very important, whether it's a flavor or character. Kids aren't going to use products that aren't cool.”
In the oral care section of a Jewel-Osco store in southwest suburban Chicago, SN observed a colorful array of toothbrushes, toothpastes and rinses designed for children. Manual and power toothbrushes and stand-up pump toothpastes, decorated with images of popular licensed characters, filled up six linear feet on two shelves. One toothbrush, shaped to resemble a fairy, even had a chamber for holding a child's tooth overnight, with a place for the tooth fairy to leave coins or bills.
Kids get a kick out of using playful toothbrushes. That was the consensus of the majority of parents who participated in Mintel's 2007 online survey of parental attitudes toward oral care products for children. More than 60% of respondents agreed with the statement: “Kids enjoy brushing more when they use a playful toothbrush.” More than 700 parents and guardians took part in the survey.