Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it’s more common than childhood asthma, obesity, and diabetes.
Even worse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly one out of every five children in the U.S. is suffering from untreated cavities.
Feeling worried? Stay calm!
Tooth decay is preventable.
And regular tooth brushing is the easiest way to prevent cavities.
It all comes down to choosing the right toothpaste.
The best kids toothpaste will help keep your child’s smile healthy and beautiful.
Table of Contents
Children’s toothpaste 101
Toothpaste has probably been a part of your daily routine for most of your life.
But how much do you actually know about this powerful preventative tool?
What is toothpaste?
Toothpaste assists in the removal of plaque and food from your teeth and gums in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Toothpaste comes in a variety of formulations.
Gel, powder, and paste toothpaste is available.
However, most toothpaste is generally made up of the same key ingredients.
These five main ingredients include:
- Abrasives – Help remove plaque, debris, and stains from your teeth
- Flavoring – Gives toothpaste flavor and scent
- Humectants – Keep the product’s consistency intact, and prevents it from drying out
- Detergent – Allows toothpaste to foam which evenly distributes it to all of your teeth
- Thickening agents – Stabilize your toothpaste
In addition to these ingredients, toothpaste can contain additional ingredients to target specific issues such as tooth decay, plaque buildup, gingivitis, surface stains, and tooth sensitivity.
The most important of these ingredients is fluoride.
Fluoride prevents tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel.
When looking for a good toothpaste for kids, this is the number one ingredient to make sure is in the formulation you choose!
Which leads us to our next topic . . . .
Tips for choosing the best toothpaste for kids
With so many options on the market, shopping for toothpaste for children can be overwhelming!
Fortunately, these four easy tips for choosing a toothpaste should make the process quick and easy — even with a grumpy kid in tow!
1. Look for the American Dental Association seal
When shopping for a toothpaste for kids it is essential to select a toothpaste that has been approved by the experts on dental health — the American Dental Association (ADA).
Purchasing a children’s toothpaste with the ADA seal ensures that the toothpaste has been tested and approved as safe for people of all ages.
2. Talk to your pediatric dentist
Your pediatric dentist is a specialist on children’s teeth and can provide you with the best advice on choosing the right toothpaste.
They will most likely guide you away from toothpaste containing harsh ingredients that can erode and wear away young tooth enamel.
Certain abrasives found in toothpaste are essential for polishing and removing plaque from adult teeth but can be too strong for children’s teeth.
3. Look for fluoride
Children of all ages need to be using toothpaste that contains a small amount of fluoride.
Fluoride helps protect teeth, but ingesting too much of it is not healthy, so the amount of fluoridated toothpaste should be limited since children tend to swallow their extra toothpaste instead of spitting it out.
Fortunately, it is easy to find fluoride toothpaste for kids that contains lower levels of fluoride, allowing your child to reap the many benefits of fluoride without the risks.
4. Pick a yummy flavor
One easy way to get kids excited about brushing their teeth is by selecting a toothpaste that appeals to them.
Find a fun toothpaste flavor like strawberry or bubble gum that will have them asking you to let them brush their teeth!
Our picks for the best kid’s toothpaste
When it comes to children’s dental health our main focus is on educating kids and their parents on two main topics:
- Dental care: This is how to care for your children’s teeth at home and includes regular brushing and flossing and other preventative measures
- Nutrition: This includes how to eat and drink in a way that protects your children’s teeth and includes topics like the frequency of snacking, and avoiding foods and drinks that cause cavities
This is because kids who practice good dental hygiene at home are less likely to develop cavities and dental health issues like periodontal disease.
And when it comes to at-home dental care, choosing the right toothpaste is a wonderful way to set your kids up for a future full of healthy smiles.
Below are some of our top dentist recommended toothpaste options for toddlers and children!
The best toothpaste for kids under the age of six
For younger children, we suggest sticking with a training toothpaste that does not contain fluoride.
Some of the top-rated training toothpaste options for kids include:
The best toothpaste for children over the age of six
As soon as children are able to spit well, we recommend making the switch to a fluoride toothpaste.
When it comes to the best fluoride toothpaste for kids, some of the top-rated products include:
The best natural toothpaste for kids
When it comes to natural toothpaste for kids, it is important to make sure that the toothpaste you choose contains fluoride or xylitol.
Our top recommendation for a natural toothpaste for kids include:
The best toothpaste for kids with braces
We commonly prescribe a prescription toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride for children with braces.
The best part?
It doesn’t have a very strong taste, so you won’t be battling with your kid to keep their teeth healthy and clean.
The best toothpaste for kids with cavities
For children with cavities, we suggest using an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste.
In special circumstances, we will prescribe a prescription toothpaste with a stronger concentration of fluoride for patients with a very high risk for cavities.
Another tool we like to recommend for patients with a high plaque count, gingivitis, and/or cavities is Plaque HD toothpaste.
This innovative toothpaste stains the plaque green so that your child can see where they need to brush better or what they are missing.
Children’s toothpaste FAQs
As a pediatric dental office, we get a lot of questions from clients about how to choose toothpaste for kids.
In this section, we answer the most common toothpaste questions that we hear from parents.
To help you find your answers quickly, we have grouped them into three sections:
When should children start using toothpaste?
You may be surprised to learn that you should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as their first tooth starts to come in!
At this age, you should use a very small amount of toothpaste (roughly the size of a grain of rice!) to brush your child’s teeth twice a day.
When brushing, try to keep your child from swallowing so that you can evenly spread the toothpaste onto all of their teeth without them ingesting too much.
We recommend increasing the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized amount once your child is three years of age, or when they are able to spit.
Should you get toothpaste that contains fluoride for your child? Why or why not?
It is incredibly important to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride for your child.
This is because fluoride is one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities in both children and adults.
Fluoride works by protecting your child’s teeth from bacteria.
It strengthens your child’s teeth and also gives them an increased resistance to the acid which can wear away at enamel causing tooth decay and cavities.
Fluoride is so effective that it can also reverse tooth decay that is in its early stages.
What is the best children’s toothpaste without fluoride?
For children over the age of six, it is critical to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent dental decay and cavities.
However, for children under the age of six, we suggest choosing a toothpaste without fluoride that is ADA-approved.
Some of our top recommendations are included above.
Can kids use adult toothpaste?
We suggest using a low-fluoride toothpaste for children that are under the age of six due to their tendency to swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it out.
Toothpaste for toddlers FAQs
Which toothpaste is best for toddlers?
As previously discussed, we suggest using a training toothpaste that is fluoride-free for children in this age bracket.
This is because toddlers have a tendency to not fully spit out the toothpaste, and you do not want them to ingest fluoride.
Read on for more specifics on toothpaste tips for toddlers that are one, two, and three.
Is toothpaste bad for toddlers?
Introducing your child to toothpaste and good dental care habits at a very young age is an extremely important part of their overall health.
When it comes to toddlers, you should definitely be using toothpaste.
However, we do recommend using a formula that is free of fluoride, which can be harmful if ingested.
What kind of toothpaste to use for a one-year-old?
For babies and very young children, we suggest using a small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste that is ADA approved.
At this age, you will want to use only a grain-of-rice-sized amount of toothpaste and evenly distribute it onto your baby’s teeth to ensure they swallow as little as possible.
What kind of toothpaste is good for a two-year-old?
Similarly to one-year-olds, you will only want to use a very small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste.
Be sure to choose one that is ADA approved.
Aside from this, we suggest focusing on choosing a type of toothpaste that your two-year-old actually wants to use that is a fun color or has a yummy flavor.
This will encourage them to brush more frequently and limit resistance to toothbrushing.
What toothpaste is best for three-year-olds?
For three-year-olds we still suggest opting for a fluoride-free toothpaste, since children that are this age still have a tendency to swallow instead of spitting.
As with two-year-olds, we highly recommend choosing a formula that you three-year-old actually wants to use.
At this age, it is a great idea to bring them to the store and let them help choose their toothpaste.
What is the best toddler toothpaste with fluoride?
We do not recommend using a toothpaste with fluoride for toddlers due to their lack of ability to fully spit out the toothpaste after they brush.
Instead, find a fluoride-free toothpaste that is approved by the ADA.
Toothpaste for big kids: FAQs
What is the best toothpaste for 5-year-olds?
For children under the age of six, we typically recommend sticking with a fluoride-free toothpaste.
However, once your child is able to spit well, you should switch them to a formula that contains fluoride.
As with younger children, it is key to choose a formula that tastes good and is fun for your kid to use so that they will look forward to dental care instead of dreading it.
What is the best toothpaste for 7-year-olds?
For older children, we suggest finding a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which will protect your kid’s teeth from tooth decay and cavities.
Just be sure to choose a toothpaste that is ADA-approved and that your child actually enjoys using, which will encourage regular brushing.