What is the Best Toothpaste for my Child?
Evaluating the many brands of toothpaste claiming to be “best for children” can be an overwhelming task. We can help you select an appropriately sized toothbrush and a good cleansing brand of children’s toothpaste.
Are there differences there among toothpaste brands?
Most children's toothpaste brands contain abrasive ingredients to remove stains, soapy ingredients to eliminate plaque, fluorides to strengthen tooth enamel, and some type of pleasant-tasting flavoring.
The major differences between brands are the thickness of the paste, the level of fluoride content, and the type of flavoring. Although fluoride strengthens enamel and repels plaque bacteria, too much of it can actually harm young teeth – a condition known as dental fluorosis. Children between the ages of one and four years old are most at risk for this condition, so fluoride levels should be carefully monitored during this time.
Be aware that adult and non-ADA approved brands of toothpaste often contain harsher abrasives, which remove tooth enamel and weaken primary teeth. In addition, some popular toothpaste brands contain sodium lauryl sulfate (shown as “SLS” on the package), which can cause painful mouth ulcers in some children.
So which toothpaste brand should I choose?
For children age two or younger, select fluoride-free “baby” toothpaste and softly brush the teeth twice per day. Flavoring is largely unimportant, so feel free to let your child help choose a flavor of toothpaste they might like!
For children between the ages of three and eight years old, select an American Dental Association (ADA) accepted brand of toothpaste containing fluoride. The ADA logo should be visible on the packaging of ADA-approved toothpaste. Use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and encourage the child to spit out the excess toothpaste after brushing. Spitting out the toothpaste takes practice, patience, and motivation – especially if the child finds the flavoring tasty. If the child does ingest tiny amounts of toothpaste, don’t worry; this is perfectly normal and will cease with time and encouragement.
Dental fluorosis is not a risk factor for children over the age of eight, but an ADA accepted toothpaste is always recommended for children of any age.
If you have questions or concerns about choosing an appropriate brand of toothpaste for your child, Dr. Day and his team are happy to provide suggestions!
Day Family Dental
Dr. Nathan Day, DMD • Dentist • Lansing, MI