The Best Toothpaste for My Child
It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what toothpaste your child should use. With so many options on the shelves, picking the right one may seem impossible, but being mindful of a few things will make this decision much easier.
Why is brushing primary teeth important?
Although primary teeth will eventually fall out, they are essential for the development of the child’s jaw, the proper alignment and spacing of their adult teeth, and speech production. Maintaining primary teeth requires daily brushing to prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and childhood periodontal disease.
The main differences between toothpaste brands
Not all toothpaste are created equal, and it’s important to understand the differences between them before purchasing toothpaste for your child. Almost every toothpaste will contain abrasive ingredients for removing stains, fluorides for strengthening tooth enamel, soapy ingredients for eliminating plaque, and a pleasant-tasting flavoring.
What sets toothpaste apart are their levels of fluoride content, the thickness of the paste, and the type of flavoring used. When picking a toothpaste for your child, keep in mind that although fluoride is essential for strengthening enamel and repelling plaque bacteria, too much fluoride can damage young teeth, leading to a condition known as dental fluorosis. Children between the ages of one and four are especially at risk for fluorosis.
Make sure to always choose an ADA-approved (American Dental Association) toothpaste. Non-ADA toothpastes often contain harsher abrasives that remove too much tooth enamel and weaken primary teeth. Other popular non-ADA-approved toothpaste brands contain sodium lauryl sulfate (check the packaging for “SLS”) which causes painful mouth ulcers in some children.
The correct toothpaste for your child
The proper toothpaste for your child will always be an ADA-approved toothpaste suitable for your child’s age. Keep your eye out for the ADA logo which should be visible on the toothpaste’s packaging.
The child’s age is the most important thing to consider when buying toothpaste. Before the child even has their first tooth, you should have an oral care routine in place. This should consist of gently cleaning the gums after each feeding with a cool, clean cloth.
Once the child has teeth, you should assist them in brushing twice per day. For children under the age of two, an ADA-approved non-fluoridated “baby” toothpaste should be used, along with a soft-bristled brush. The flavor of the toothpaste is unimportant, as long as the child likes it.
Between the middle of their second year and the start of their third year, parents should switch their children to ADA-approved fluoridated toddler toothpaste.
When brushing your child’s teeth, use only a tiny pea- or rice-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste and encourage the child to spit out the rest after brushing. This can take patience, practice, and motivation, especially if the child finds the toothpaste tasty and wants to eat it.
Ingesting small amounts of toothpaste is normal for children, but ingesting large amounts can be dangerous. Dental fluorosis is a risk factor for children under the age of eight.
If you have any questions or concerns about choosing the best toothpaste for your child, please contact Brooklyn Dentist and Dr. Shahin, for toothpaste recommendations.