With so many toothpaste options on the market, how can you tell which is the best choice? Here are some tips to find the right toothpaste for your child.
Getting your child to brush properly can be tough but making sure they have the right tools can be just as tricky. But when should you start brushing your child’s teeth to begin with? According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should start brushing your child’s teeth with an appropriate toothbrush and a rice-size smear of toothpaste once their first tooth appears. Children ages 3-6 should brush with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with their parent’s help. All children should spit out excess toothpaste to avoid ingesting too much fluoride.
The ADA Seal of Acceptance - The American Dental Association is 160 years old and has been putting its Seal of Acceptance on dental products since 1931. Choosing a toothpaste with an ADA Seal of Acceptance means it has passed a strict set of guidelines and testing procedures to ensure it is safe and effective.
Fluoride - In 2018, a paper by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommended “using no more than a smear or rice-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children less than three years of age may decrease the risk of fluorosis." Fluorosis is the appearance of faint white lines or streaks on the teeth that occur when teeth that are still developing are exposed to too much fluoride.
Flavor - Choosing a flavor that your child will like will really help them look forward to brushing. Some children don’t like the standard mint flavor because it’s too strong. But don’t worry, children’s toothpaste comes in many fun flavors like bubble gum and strawberry.
Abrasives - Choose a toothpaste that doesn’t have any abrasives that are used in many adult and whitening toothpastes. If the box says calcium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxides, dehydrated silica gels, silicates, or magnesium carbonate, put it back on the shelf.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate - In some children (and even adults), Sodium
Laurel Sulfate, or SLS, has shown to cause canker sores. Used as a foaming agent and detergent in many toothpastes, shampoos, and cleaners, SLS might be too strong for your child’s system.
Regardless of your choice of toothpaste, starting a regular hygiene program at home with your little one is the best way to make sure they learn how to care for their teeth. Set an example by showing them how to brush and floss well twice a day.
Make brushing teeth fun by creating a little child-sized brushing area with their own floss, brush, toothpaste, and cup to rinse with. Toothbrushes for children come in so many designs and with a ton of fun characters; your child is bound to find something they like!
Combined with professional cleanings and exams, you can help set them on the road to good dental health that will last a lifetime.