As a Brooklyn kids’ dentist, one of the questions we hear a lot is, “what’s the best toothpaste for kids?” One look at the toothpaste aisle in pretty much any store and it’s easy to see why it can be super overwhelming to know which one to choose! Well, the team here at Bitesize Pediatric Dentistry has you covered. We’re sharing a quick guide to toothpaste for kids and offering some suggestions for a few of our favorites.
When Can Babies Use Toothpaste?
You can start cleaning an infant’s mouth as soon as they’re born by wiping down their gums with a moistened piece of gauze or a clean, soft cloth. Then, when they get their first tooth, you can brush using an infant-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of the grain of rice).
Parents often wonder if it’s okay to use fluoride toothpaste for babies. It’s actually recommended as soon as their first tooth erupts. Since you’ll only be using a tiny, tiny amount, it’s not necessary that they spit it out. It will help remineralize the teeth (or tooth), strengthening the enamel and protecting it from the acids that cause cavities. Of course, there are fluoride-free options for babies. However, the American Dental Association notes that nearly 25 percent of children will have a cavity before starting kindergarten, which is why they began encouraging parents to use fluoride toothpaste for babies instead of waiting until they have a full set of pearly whites.
How Much Toothpaste Should Kids Use?
A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that almost 40% of little ones ages three to six use too much toothpaste. This can be an issue because kids at this age aren’t that great at spitting it out. Plus, having an excessive amount of fluoride can cause fluorosis. The good news is this is easy to remedy by simply ensuring your kiddo is using the correct amount of toothpaste. The guidelines are as follows (and you can see a great visual in this article):
- Birth to three years old – A tiny smear – no larger than a grain of rice
- Ages three and older – A pea-sized dollop
- Teens – A thin ribbon across the toothbrush head
Use the recommended amount of toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush and have them brush for at least two minutes twice per day and floss once daily. Be sure kids three and up are spitting out their excess toothpaste when they’re done brushing their teeth. Toothbrushing will be a team sport with you monitoring or offering help until you feel confident that your child is a brushing whiz.
How to Choose the Best Toothpaste for Kids
There are so many varieties of kids’ toothpaste out there but you don’t really need anything fancy. A fluoride toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval will do the trick. The ADA Seal of Acceptance is only found on dental products that have been proven safe and effective in clinical or laboratory tests.
Here are some tried and true kids’ toothpastes that are ADA approved:
- Tom’s of Maine Natural Children’s Toothpaste – Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Children’s Toothpaste is one of our favorites because it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, and the tube is recyclable. Both the Outrageous Mango and Silly Strawberry flavors are crowd pleasers.
- PRO-SYS Kids Fluoride Toothpaste – This ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste for kids comes in a bubblegum flavor. It’s tasty and foams nicely to get in between teeth.
- Kid’s Crest Cavity Protection Toothpaste – This sparkly, bubble-gum flavored toothpaste will get little ones excited about brushing. The formula is gentle and helps fight cavities.
- Burt’s Bees Kids’ Fruit Fusion Toothpaste – Burt’s Bees is another ADA-accepted kids’ toothpaste that has cavity-fighting fluoride. It has a fruity flavor and is made without artificial ingredients. As a bonus, the tubes are recyclable.
- Aquafresh Kids’ Cavity Protection Bubblemint – This fluoride toothpaste for kids has a fresh, fun flavor. While it fights cavities, it has a low-abrasion formula making it safe for little teeth.
- Hello Kid’s Fluoride Toothpaste – Hello Kid’s toothpaste is another natural option that doesn’t contain artificial ingredients but works really well. The Blue Raspberry packs a lot of kid-friendly flavor too!
While our suggestions for the best toothpaste for kids are all great options, choosing one in a flavor your child loves will make them want to actually use it. If you have any questions about kids’ toothpaste, the team here at Bitesize Pediatric Dentistry can help, so don’t hesitate to reach out!