Choosing the best toothpaste for children is an important element in your child’s good dental health.
With so many varieties available, selecting a toothpaste can seem a bit overwhelming. By following a few guidelines for choosing toothpaste, the process can be a simple one.
When a couple more teeth appear, it is time to start using toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush. Be sure to use non-fluoridated toothpaste until the child is able to spit. Children rarely have the motor skills to spit out toothpaste until the age of 3, therefore make sure that you have infant toothpaste until that time. Fluoride in toothpaste can be harmful, if swallowed, on both their tooth development and their overall health. So please keep all toothpaste out of reach from your toddlers and only use non-fluoride toothpaste until they can spit. Please ask your dentist at The Kids Dentist for more information on this topic.
The Importance of Toothpaste for Children
The human mouth contains thousands of bacteria that can ultimately form plaque, a film that covers the teeth and causes cavities, halitosis (bad breath), and gum disease. The components in toothpaste are designed to increase and maintain oral health. Health increasing ingredients found in toothpaste include:
- Antibacterial agents: Decrease bacteria in the mouth which lessens plaque and bad breath and lower risk for gum disease
- Fluoride: Flouride fortifies the enamel (hard outer surface) of the teeth and guards against cavities and plaque build up
- Mild abrasives: Scrub stains and help remove plaque from teeth
Brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste will promote overall dental well-being and help your child have a healthy smile that will last a lifetime.
Guidelines for Choosing the Best Toothpaste for Children
- Choose a fluoride toothpaste: The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that all children use fluoridated toothpaste. While most public water supplies contain fluoride, the levels are not adequate for proper cavity protection. Fluoride use does need to be monitored carefully, as ingesting too much can be harmful. For children under age 3, a tiny smear of toothpaste is enough, and older children should use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste each time they brush. Check with Dr. Fisher for recommendations on using fluoridated toothpaste for young children.
- Look for the ADA seal of approval: If you are unsure about a toothpaste, look for the ADA seal on the toothpaste box or tube. This seal ensures that the toothpaste has been tested and accepted as safe and effective by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs.
- Avoid harsh abrasives: While abrasives are helpful for removing plaque and stains, some toothpastes may contain harsher ingredients (large quantities of phosphates and alumina) that may be harmful to children’s teeth by eroding young tooth enamel. In addition, some children are sensitive to toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is an organic foaming compound which is found in most major toothpastes, however some people, especially children, can be sensitive to this ingredient and may develop canker sores. If your child does experience sensitivity or canker sores from a toothpaste, do not fret. There are many options of toothpastes made for sensitive teeth that are free of SLS. Consult with your pediatric dentist about what toothpaste is effective and gentle enough for your child.
- Let your child choose the flavor: Toothpaste flavor can actually make a big difference in your child’s long-term oral hygiene routine. While most adults prefer minty toothpastes, many children feel that they are too “spicy” or dislike the tingling sensation in their mouths. With your child’s help, purchase a small tube (since your child won’t need much and his/her taste may change) of a kid-friendly toothpaste. Allowing your child to pick a fun toothpaste that tastes good will encourage brushing and start the practice of good dental habits at an early age.
Dr. Shane Fisher
Dr. Shane Fisher, a board certified pediatric dentist, has over 15 years of providing comprehensive dental care for infants, children and teenagers. He has consistently received 5 star ratings throughout social media. He has patients that travel from all over the metropolitan area including Mequon, Whitefish Bay, Thiensville, River Hills, Fox Point, Glendale and other northern Milwaukee suburbs.
If you would like for your child to have a great experience at a pediatric dentist, please call Dr. Shane A. Fisher at The Kids Dentist 262-241-0400 or complete an online appointment request.