What’s the best toothpaste for my kiddos? Another question I get asked a lot.
Going to a store and looking in the toothpaste aisle can be super overwhelming.
How do you know which one to choose? Which one will be best for your child?”
Well, for me it was trial and error, My daughter hated toothpaste when she was little, the taste, texture, and smell. I purchased 12 different brands back then, tried them all and now there are even more choices. For years I just brushed her teeth with a wet toothbrush and used my finger to apply MI Paste after brushing, this was our routine until she was around six. It was then I discovered Colgate watermelon toothpaste and as long as we only used a smear she agreed to use toothpaste. The Dental Hygiene 411 team has you covered with some options, so you have an idea of what is available on the market for you to try. We’re sharing a quick guide to toothpaste for kids and offering suggestions and a few of our favorites.
I am giving you permission to not use toothpaste if your child spits it out at you as my daughter did. Toothpaste is not for everyone! I would rather you get the toothbrush in their mouth and remove plaque rather than spending precious time with the toothpaste battle.
Even as a dental hygienist I would put my daughter in a headlock to brush her teeth, both of us crying, with me screaming over her to yell louder so she would open wider. We had well water and I did not want her to have cavities. Years later I realized I traumatized both of us for no reason. I was just going to make my daughter brush with toothpaste. I can’t have a child that has cavities! How would that look? Her Dad is a dentist, her Mom a dental hygienist? Why was I so worried about what others would think? Toothpaste prevents cavities, right? Not necessarily. It became a battle of wills between her and me. It was not until years later I discovered the toothpaste that was the most important part of having a healthy mouth; it was brushing all of the surfaces of the teeth and disrupting the plaque. Brushing and flossing are only pieces of the puzzle.
There are many things that not only cause cavities but prevent them as well. Even with what I did for a living, I had no idea as a new Mom everything I needed to know about a healthy mouth and how it is all connected. What I share are things I wish I had known back then.
If you follow me you know I feel toothpaste and toothbrushes are a personal choice and there is no one-size-fits-all in dentistry. I like options. So we are providing some.
WHEN CAN YOU START USING TOOTHPASTE?
You can start cleaning an infant’s mouth as soon as they’re born by wiping down their gums, cheeks, and tongue with a moistened piece of gauze or a soft clean cloth. When they get their first tooth, is when you can start to brush using an infant-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste (about the size of the grain of rice).
Parents often ask if it’s okay to use fluoride toothpaste for babies. It’s actually recommended by the ADA as soon as their first tooth erupts. Since you’ll only be using a 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 infants and children as well. 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 instead of waiting until they have all twenty teeth erupted.
To use Fluoride or not to use Fluoride is another one of those personal choices. There is no right or wrong answer, in my opinion, It comes down to your belief system. I have a podcast and YouTube video that goes more into detail on this controversial subject. I used MI paste with recaldent because I could rub it on with my finger which she let me do without a fight. As she got older I was able to use a q-tip to apply it. We eventually found a toothpaste she liked and would use consistently.
HOW MUCH TOOTHPASTE SHOULD YOU USE?
A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that almost 40% of kids ages 3 to 6 use too much toothpaste. It will vary per child and can be an issue because kids at this age aren’t the greatest at spitting it out. This is why you only need to use a small amount. Plus, having an excessive amount of fluoride can cause what is known as fluorosis. Even though we do not see much of that these days it is still a possibility. 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 visual in this article):
- Birth to three years old – A tiny smear –It looks like you did put any on making sure it is no larger than a grain of rice (See Photo)
- Ages three and older – A grain of rice or pea-sized dollop
- Teens – A thin ribbon across the toothbrush head
I have never liked a lot of toothpaste myself. Use the recommended amount of toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush and brush for at least two minutes twice per day and floss once daily, once the teeth are touching. If your child only has a few teeth it may not require the full two minutes to brush all of the teeth. Encourage kids three and up to spit out their excess toothpaste when they’re done brushing their teeth. The amount you use will depend on each individual child’s needs and choice. Toothbrushing is a team approach with you monitoring or offering help until you feel confident that your child is brushing efficiently on their own.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST TOOTHPASTE FOR YOUR KIDS
There are so many varieties of kids’ toothpaste out there. How do you choose? I would take Faith to the store and let her pick out the toothpaste. For her, it was more about who or what was on the packaging rather than the taste until we got home and she tried it. Once we found one she liked we used it for years.
For me personally, I get canker sores easily, I found the toothpaste I use makes a difference as to how often I get them. So again, I tried many brands of toothpaste. It has changed over the years. Below are the two we use, love and that work for our family now. We love them so much I became an ambassador for the first two companies listed here. Some are Amazon affiliate links.
Use Promo Code: 5ZMZBR For a Professional discount
- Burst has 3 different options available!
- Fluoride- Wild Mint Flavor
- Natural – Fluoride Free Wild Mint Flavor
- Charcoal – Fluoride Coconut Salt Flavor
Perfect for everyday cleaning and whitening. The cavity-fighting and enamel protection of fluoride with a deliciously minty, fresh, and clean taste. 4.7 oz (133g). Made in the USA See ingredients of each
- WHITENS TEETH: With hydrated silica for natural whitening and stain removal.
- NO SENSITIVITY: A very low RDA (relative dentin abrasivity) score means no tooth sensitivity.
- NATURALLY AWESOME: Naturally foamy without SLS. No triclosan, parabens, or artificial colors.
- 100% RECYCLABLE: Our tubes are 100% recyclable BPA-free plastic
AP 24® Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste lightens teeth without peroxide while preventing cavities and plaque formation. This gentle, vanilla mint formula freshens breath and provides a clean, just-brushed feeling that lasts all day.
I have ‘Bonding on my front teeth and it is both safe and effective in removing my tea stain! I absolutely love this product!
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends fluoride toothpaste with their Seal of Approval.
Here are some tried and true kids’ toothpaste 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.
- Colgate Kids 2 In 1 Toothpaste & Mouthwash, Watermelon Flavor, 4.6 Ounce. By the time I found this I was so happy she would finally use a toothpaste I bought it in bulk.
- Hello Kids Blue Raspberry Fluoride Toothpaste – Hello Kids toothpaste is another natural option that doesn’t contain artificial ingredients but works really well.
- SPRY NATURAL TOOTHPASTE FOR KIDS – Is made to be safe for kids, toddlers, and babies. Fluoride-free toothpaste gel cleans gums and teeth and promotes a positive oral environment for the healthy development of emerging teeth when used as part of a complete oral hygiene program. Can be used with a Spry Pacifier or beginner toothbrush.
- 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.
There are also chewable tablets for brushing. I have not used these but I have friends that love them.
- Eco Packaging – 60 tablets. Reusable glass bottle. Refills available that are 3 x 60 count in plastic-free packaging.
- Non-GMO Xylitol toothpaste tablets. SLS-free and Fluoride-free. Available in Peppermint, Cinnamon, Bubble Gum, and Vanilla Mint.
- The only toothpaste tablets that do not contain Silica (Silicon Dioxide). Silica is highly abrasive.
- No unnecessary ingredients or fillers. No harsh abrasives. Enamel safe.
- Natural ingredients. Made in America. Gentle on the planet. Gentle on teeth and gums.
- Plaque HD
- EFFICIENTLY REMOVES PLAQUE: When you brush your teeth with regular toothpaste, you don’t realize how much plaque you leave behind on a daily basis, which builds up and causes harm to your teeth. Plaque HD Identifying Toothpaste is a must-have addition to your daily dental hygiene routine that identifies plaque by turning it green. Keep brushing the areas where you see green until it disappears, and enjoy healthier teeth and gums!
- DEVELOPED BY DENTISTS: The Plaque HD Identifying Toothpaste has been developed and crafted by a dentist, partnered with a leading team of chemists. This FDA-registered fluoride toothpaste provides you with a healthy and efficient way to remove plaque. Now you and your family can have fun by turning your mouth green and brushing your way to a healthier mouth and smile. Plaque HD Toothpaste also contains xylitol, which also helps eliminate harmful bacteria on your mouth and tongue
Plaque is hard to see with your eyes when looking in your mouth. This toothpaste stains the plaque so you can see where you and your kiddos are missing.
If your kids are like my daughter was and they do not like toothpaste, start with the areas kids usually miss on their own: the upper back teeth on the outside and the lower back on the insides. I recommend a smaller toothbrush to get in the back. If you are not using an electric toothbrush I have a few I like to listen to next week’s blog post where we talk about what is the best toothbrush to use.
While these 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, don’t hesitate to reach out to our dental hygiene 411 team or join our Healthy Mouth Movement Facebook group.
The products suggested above are also located on our products page along with many other helpful supplies.
A Healthy Mouth is a Healthy Body and A Healthy Happy Life!