5 Tips to Select the Best Children’s Toothpaste
As parents, you want what’s best for your children. You provide them love and support, and you strive to keep them healthy. One of the most prominent strategies parents employ to help their kids grow strong and stay healthy is monitoring what they eat. Parents seek to ensure their children are consuming proper servings of food each day. Eat those veggies! Have an apple for a snack! With so much attention paid to what our children put in their mouths to eat, it should be no surprise that the children’s toothpaste they use is important too.
At We Make Kids Smile, we want to help parents make the best choices for their children. Though no one knows their child or their needs better than the parent, we love the opportunity to offer our expertise and share our experiences to help parents choose the right toothpaste for their children.
There are many great kinds of toothpaste on the market, and we’d do parents a disservice if we tried to point them toward just a few. After all, caring for kids’ teeth is our job and our pleasure. We’re here to provide some insights that might be helpful so you can select the best children’s toothpaste for your child.
1. Look for that ADA Seal of Acceptance.
The Seal was developed back in 1931 and is a way to help those in the dental industry make educated and informed recommendations regarding the efficacy and safety of products to their customers. As dental professionals, we know those companies have taken the time and spent the resources to test their products and make sure they demonstrate safety and efficacy.
2. Pay attention to the flavor.
If you have a picky child, you know that if they have one bad experience with something, the likelihood of them trying it again is slim to none. With toothpaste flavors, this is no different. If your child hates the test once, not to mention dislikes the concept of the toothbrush itself in their mouth, then you are going to be hard-pressed to get them to try it again. This is why many children’s toothpaste options are available in more child-friendly flavors.
Though adults appreciate the fresh taste and long-lasting mintiness of a mint-based toothpaste, children aren’t as likely to enjoy that taste quite yet. Children’s toothpaste that tastes like bubblegum, fruit, and even chocolate tends to appeal to a child’s sense of taste. And if your child is a bit more stubborn, they might appreciate a tasteless variety.
3. Texture matters.
Kids are more sensitive to textures than you might think, and many kids will struggle with toothpaste texture. In these cases, dentists often suggest a toothpaste that does not have that gritty texture found in many adult toothpastes. In particular, a gel toothpaste can be an effective solution for children with autism or other sensory issues. To that end, combining a non-gritty gel instead of a toothpaste combined with a soft-bristled brush can create a far more enjoyable tooth-brushing experience.
4. Make it fun.
Of course, the best way to help kids develop a positive tooth-brushing routine is to make it fun. Many parents let their kids choose their toothbrush from a supply that they have on hand. After all, some children might enjoy a different toothbrush for each day of the week. As long as worn-out toothbrushes are disposed of and replaced with new ones periodically, there is no reason you can’t keep a supply of a few active toothbrushes on hand.
Also, why not have your child brush their toy’s teeth too? Keep a toothbrush bin in your child’s bathroom or in whichever bathroom they will use, with a brush for them and a toothbrush for Teddy too. Even better, make tooth-brushing a family experience with mom, dad, sister, and brother all sharing in the experience. Your teeth (and your dentist) will thank you for it!
5. Find the fluoride.
A natural cavity fighter, fluoride is naturally occurring in various water sources across the globe. It is naturally present in some beverages and foods, but the fluoride level in each varies quite a bit. The ADA suggests the addition of fluoride to dental products to help protect teeth from cavities.
How soon is too soon for your child to brush their teeth?
It is crucial to start your child off early so they can develop a lifelong habit of good dental hygiene. Parents can start cleaning their children’s teeth before their teeth even sprout through the gums. By using a soft, wet cloth or a clean finger brush, parents can gently wipe their baby’s gums to help remove bacteria. Not only will this help prevent damage to those growing teeth underneath the gums, but your baby will become familiar with the feeling of something in their mouth.
Tooth Care From 0 to 3
Once those teeth appear above the gumline, you can start gently brushing them once or twice a day. One of those times each day should be after their last meal and before they go to bed. Getting into this habit now will help familiarize your child with brushing their teeth and will set them on the path to good dental practices. At this stage of the game and until the age of three, parents should only use the amount equivalent of a grain of rice of low-fluoride toothpaste.
Tooth Care From 3 to 6
Once your child turns three, the amount of toothpaste used should be about the size of a pea. At this stage of the game, we suggest parents encourage their children to swallow as little toothpaste as possible. Teaching them to swoosh in their mouth and spit into the sink can even be a fun, albeit a bit messy, experience for little ones.
We know swooshing means clean-up. Remember that a little mess now is worth it so they can develop a lifetime of good dental habits. Sing a song like “Row, row, row your boat” to your child while they brush as a way to teach them how to handle their toothbrush as it makes its way across their teeth.
Tooth Care After Age 6
Once your child is six years of age, you may determine it is time to switch your child to an adult toothpaste. However, this isn’t necessary, as it is far more critical to make this change when it is right for your child. Six-year-olds often have a mind of their own, we know, so follow their cues. If they love the flavor of their toothpaste and brushing time is going well, there is no need to change unless they experience dental problems.