Life is full of mysteries. Such as, why are there so many kinds of toothpaste?
Having a variety is good – but sifting through the multitude of children’s toothpaste (on Amazon there are over 4,000 listings) is downright confusing.
There are a couple key traits that you’ll want to look for when purchasing toothpaste for your child. We’ll break it down for you!
Make sure it contains fluoride
In the past, it was recommended that children younger than 3 years old use toothpaste that didn’t contain fluoride – i.e. “training” toothpaste. This was to prevent accidental swallowing of too much fluoride which could cause fluorosis or stomach upset.
In 2014, however, the American Dental Association began recommending that all children use fluoride toothpaste.
The new recommendation was put in place to combat tooth decay, the most common chronic childhood disease. Decades of research showing the safety and effectiveness of using fluoride to prevent cavities makes this new policy a no-brainer.
Use the right amount
The most important part of using fluoride toothpaste is to use the right amount: the size of a grain of rice for children under 3 (who cannot yet spit), and the size of a pea for children over the age of 3. A helpful image showing these amounts is in this report from the Journal of the American Dental Association.
A toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval will always contain fluoride – so that’s an easy thing to look for.
After that, choose whatever toothpaste your child will use!
And you don’t have to choose children’s toothpaste either. Choose whatever they like (or tolerate). Experiment with flavors, or have them pick out the one with their favorite cartoon character.
Whatever toothpaste they accept works!
Just make sure you’re not sharing your tube of toothpaste with your little one. You don’t want to transfer any cavity-causing bacteria to their little mouths. Plus, when sickness goes around, you’ll at least minimize the risk of infecting your whole family with a single tube of toothpaste.
A note about ingredients
Unless your little has a particular sensitivity to specific ingredients, you don’t need to worry about choosing a toothpaste labeled “natural” or one that markets with all the ingredients it doesn’t contain.
If you feel more comfortable sticking with a particular brand or avoiding ingredients like dyes or sodium lauryl sulfate (which can aggravate canker sores), then go with that! Just be sure to stick with fluoride!
As always, make sure your little brushes twice a day for two minutes at a time, and maintain regular dental visits to ensure a healthy mouth for a lifetime.