What’s the Best Toothpaste for My Child?
Evaluating the many brands of oral products claiming to be “best for children” can be an overwhelming task. Selecting an appropriately sized toothbrush and a nourishing, cleansing brand of children’s toothpaste is important for maintaining excellent oral health.
Why brush primary teeth?
The importance of maintaining the health of primary (baby) teeth is often understated. Primary teeth are essential for speech production, chewing, jaw development, and they also facilitate the proper alignment and spacing of permanent adult teeth. Brushing primary teeth prevents bad breath and tooth decay, and also removes the plaque bacteria associated with childhood periodontal disease.
What differences are there among toothpaste brands?
Though all toothpastes are not created equal, most brands generally 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 cause painful mouth ulcers in some children.
So which toothpaste brand should I choose?
SKY Pediatric Dentistry has a fun Toothpaste Try-Out station at our Brush-Up Center. Parents and kids can try out a variety of toothpastes to find one with the look and feel that kids will like and use! Dr. Ashley understands that it can be difficult to find the toothpaste that is 'just right' for your child. We hope the Toothpaste Try-Out station will help make this choice an easy one!
Prior to the age of two, the child will have many teeth and brushing should begin. We recommend a smear sized amount of your child's preferred toothpaste. Dr. Ashley and the SKY Pediatric Dentistry team can work with you to determine if your child needs a toothpaste that contains fluoride before they are two years old.
For kids age 2-5 years old, use a pea sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste. The ADA logo is clear and present on toothpaste packaging, so be sure to check for it. Encourage the child to spit out the excess after brushing. If the child does ingest tiny amounts of toothpaste, don’t worry; this is perfectly normal and will cease with time and encouragement.
If you have questions or concerns about choosing an appropriate brand of toothpaste for your child, Dr. Ashley and the SKY Pediatric Dentistry team will be happy to make recommendations for your child based upon their specific needs.