There are many different opinions when it comes to the most beneficial toothpaste for your children. While some people say that fluoride toothpaste can be used at any age, others won’t allow their little ones to use fluoride-containing products at all. Similarly, certain groups claim that artificial flavors and colors won’t have any harmful effects, while others believe that all-natural is the only way to go.
In this guide, we’ll outline the most important things to check when choosing toothpaste for kids. By considering advice from leading health experts and a little of your own common sense, you and your kiddo will be well on your way to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. We also provide tips on which oral care practices are most suited to each stage of their dental development.
Even though your newborn baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, it doesn’t mean that oral care isn’t important. You need to care for their mouth to prevent gum disease and infections from just a few days old. MedlinePlus recommends gently wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth after every feeding and before bedtime.
Once your baby starts teething between six and 14 months their teeth should be brushed gently with water and a baby-size toothbrush. Fluoride toothpaste should not be used until your child is older than two years since they’ll need to be able to spit the toothpaste out without swallowing it.
For children between the age of two and three years, you can apply a small dot of toothpaste no bigger than the size of a grain of rice. Children three to six years old can use a pea-sized amount. Their teeth should be brushed teeth after breakfast and before bedtime.
The majority of toothpaste contains fluoride. This popular ingredient makes teeth more resistant to acid, helps to prevent cavities, and strengthens tooth enamel. Although fluoride naturally occurs in tap water, the quantity used in toothpaste is much more concentrated.
Too much fluoride can cause white spots on the enamel and if swallowed in large amounts it can cause stomach upset. This is why some people are opposed to the use of fluoride toothpaste for children.
An alternative to fluoride toothpaste is xylitol. Xylitol can help prevent cavities since it reduces cavity-causing bacteria. The only catch is that you need to use a significantly larger amount of xylitol than fluoride for it to be effective.
A good starting point for choosing a quality fluoride toothpaste for kids is looking for something with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
The FDA does regulate all oral care products, however, if a product is ADA-certified it is tested for safety and effectiveness beyond FDA requirements. An ADA Seal of Acceptance ensures that it contains the right amount of fluoride for enamel protection and that it has undergone rigorous safety testing.
To get the ADA Seal of Acceptance, the product does, however, need to contain fluoride. Therefore, this is not the be-all and end-all, especially if you are opting to use a xylitol or fluoride-free product instead.
If you want fluoride toothpaste, look for the component in the ingredients list. It may appear as sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate, or stannous fluoride.
You also want to ensure that the toothpaste is free from sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). This is a foaming agent that creates bubbles during brushing and is also found in many cleaning products. SLS can cause or worsen canker sores in kids.
Other ingredients you want to be aware of are abrasives such as calcium carbonate. Although these can be helpful to remove stains and debris in adult teeth, they can be too strong for kids.
It is recommended to try and avoid toothpaste that contains artificial colorants or dyes since these can cause allergic reactions such as a swollen tongue or itchiness. Although flavor can play a significant role in getting your toddler more excited about brushing their teeth, try to go for a natural one and avoid added sugar.
You’ll also want to choose a toothpaste that your child actually likes. This will make brushing easier on both of you. Avoid whitening toothpaste, charcoal toothpaste, products with microbeads, and intense flavors. These are too harsh for baby enamel and kids’ taste buds.
This unique and cutting-edge formula from Kinder Karex made our top pick for kids’ toothpaste because it maintains the perfect balance between safety and effectiveness. This toothpaste formula is paraben, SLS, and fluoride free. It instead contains a gentler BioHAP (biomimetic hydroxyapatite) ingredient to help those little ones get their teeth clean.
BioHAP is the same kind of substance from which tooth enamel is composed. It forms a layer on the teeth which protects against acid, remineralizes (repairs) the enamel, and releases calcium to counter bacterial attacks. It also helps to prevent sensitivity to pain. The great thing about this formula is that it is completely safe if your kiddo accidentally swallows some and is even gentle on their first baby teeth. With a mellow mint-flavored taste and a gentle formula, this toothpaste is a great choice for any kid as young as 0.
This fluoride toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine is approved by the ADA (American Dental Association) which means you can be assured that it is a safe and reliable choice for your little one’s mouth. This natural formula is free of unnecessary artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives and contains only fluoride, calcium, silica, and natural strawberries to give it its tasty strawberry-flavored pizazz.
We also love that the toothpaste tubes can be recycled and that 10% of every purchase made goes to supporting charities for health, education, and environmental causes. The tubes also have a flip-top design which means no losing caps, messy bathroom sinks, or icky, dried-out toothpaste. Tom’s of Maine also doesn’t test any of its products on animals, so you can feel good about your purchase.
Designed for kids three years of age and older, this Kid’s Crest toothpaste brings the fun factor to brushing. While still gentle enough for tooth enamel, this toothpaste is also great for fighting against cavities. This option contains clinically-proven fluoristat toothpaste and has a yummy bubblegum flavor that’s a favorite with kids. It also has an added sparkle effect that makes brushing more of an adventure than a chore.
Since this toothpaste is also ADA-approved, you can be assured that it is safe and effective for your child when used as directed. This ADA approval means just the right amount of fluoride is present to prevent tooth decay and that the product is free of sugar.
Designed for kids aged two years and older, Colgate’s Trolls Toothpaste contains fluoride for enhanced cavity protection. Since it is specifically formulated for kids, it is gentle on the enamel while still being highly effective. Parents will also be happy to know that the toothpaste is both gluten and sugar-free so you can get those pearly whites nice and clean without any unnecessary ingredients.
The fun character designs on the tubes can also help encourage your kids to brush their teeth and the mild bubble fruit flavor makes it pretty tasty as well. The toothpaste even comes with a stand-up tube that has a flat-top design with a flip-top lid. This makes it a lot easier to use than screwtop lids by preventing the tube cap from getting lost and the toothpaste from drying out.
This anticavity fluoride kids toothpaste from ACT is designed specifically to strengthen and protect developing teeth with cavity and enamel protection. Plus thanks to the unique watermelon flavor, this kids’ fluoride toothpaste can fight those cavities in a more enjoyable way than other mint-flavored options.
Although adults might not appreciate the vibrant flavor of watermelon, the taste can help make brushing a whole lot more fun for kids. Not to mention, they can also help to freshen their breath. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t like watermelon. ACT has other yummy flavor options including bubblegum blowout and groovy grape. The fun, colorful tubes also have easy-to-use flip caps and a convenient stand-up design to make it super easy for your kids to use on their own.
A: You should replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months.
A: Children under the age of six years may not have adequate fine motor skills to brush their own teeth. It is, however, important to teach them how to brush their teeth from a young age and to let them practice. Taking turns allows them to practice while giving you the chance to ensure get any missed spots.
A: The main problem with using a fluoride toothpaste for toddlers' teeth is that they may swallow it rather than spit it out. Once teeth develop, use only a small amount and have them tilt their mouth downwards so the toothpaste can dribble out instead of being swallowed. Fluoride toothpaste is safe in very small amounts for kids. Once they can easily spit it out, you can slowly increase the quantity of toothpaste you use. Keep in mind that most people use more than what is needed. You really don’t need to use too much for it to be effective.
A: It is highly recommended to only use kids' toothpaste for your child since the amount of fluoride in adult toothpaste can be too harsh. Adult products may also contain abrasives that can damage their enamel.
A: It is recommended by the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry that you take your child to the dentist as soon as one year old. Twice yearly dental visits not only reduce the chances of cavities but also helps to build trust between the child and their dentist, making future dental visits much less stressful.
A: If you are buying toothpaste in multiple-pack quantities and worrying about them expiring, this shouldn’t be a concern. Toothpaste can last up to two years. Up to this point, essential fluoride will remain at an optimal level for effective cavity prevention. After two years the color and flavor can change and become unpleasant.
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