Kids should begin good oral hygiene practices when they are very young; even before their baby teeth come in. For parents, knowing what kind of toothpaste to buy for kids at every stage of their development can be confusing. Before the kids are old enough to have their own opinions on the matter, a parent should understand the differences between toothpastes made for very young children and those made for older kids.
When choosing toothpaste for a child who is under 3 years old, it is best to get one that does not contain fluoride. Fluoride is important throughout life to keep tooth enamel strong and reduce the risk of cavities, but very young children can’t spit toothpaste out, and fluoride should not be swallowed. This type of toothpaste non-fluoride toothpaste made for young children is sometimes called training toothpaste. At this stage in your child’s life you will be gently brushing their gums or newly emerging teeth with your finger, and then eventually with a soft bristle brush.
The time to switch to fluoride toothpaste is when your child is old enough to brush his or her own teeth and spit the toothpaste out. While most adults use mint-flavored toothpaste, kids often find milder flavors more palatable. Children’s toothpaste comes in a variety of fruit flavors as well as flavors like bubble gum or cotton candy. You can give your child the freedom to choose flavor of the toothpaste; as long as it carries the ADA Seal and contains fluoride you can be sure it’s a good choice.
The ADA Seal is important because it means that the American Dental Association has approved the toothpaste. In order to carry the ADA Seal, a manufacturer must submit ingredients lists and other information about their product, conduct clinical trials and provide evidence that the product is manufactured in properly maintained and supervised facilities. So when you see the ADA Seal, you know the ADA has confirmed that the product is safe, effective, and does what the label claims.
Finding a good toothpaste for your child that he or she likes is usually not too difficult. There are many flavors available, as well as brands of toothpaste and toothbrushes that are associated with popular characters. Making oral hygiene fun is the best way to get kids to brush regularly without complaints. Start them early and make oral health and dentist visits fun and exciting, to keep their teeth and gums healthy and begin a habit of oral hygiene that will last a lifetime.