When you’re shopping for toothpaste in the grocery store aisle or browsing online, the options often seem endless. There are toothpastes that promise whiter teeth, fresh breath, reduced sensitivity, anti-plaque, and every flavor under the sun.

With all the flashy advertisements and confusing marketing claims, how do you choose the best toothpaste for your child?

While it may be tempting to buy the toothpaste with the coolest commercials or the most “advanced” formulas, the basics are really what matter most, especially for kids. This blog breaks down everything you need to know about choosing the best toothpaste for kids.

Stick With Basic Fluoride Toothpaste

When it comes to keeping your kid’s teeth healthy and cavity-free, fluoride is the most important ingredient to look for in toothpaste. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and helps protect teeth from acids that cause cavities.

That’s why the American Dental Association recommends using fluoride toothpaste. There’s no need for fancy toothpaste with other special ingredients, such as whitening toothpastes or “tartar control” varieties. As long as there’s fluoride, basic toothpaste has your child covered.

Some good fluoride toothpaste options specifically formulated for children include:

Tom’s of Maine Natural Anti-Cavity Kid’s Toothpaste

Aquafresh Bubble Mint Fluoride Toothpaste

Crest Kids 2-in-1 Cavity Protection Toothpaste

All of these products provide cavity protection without unnecessary frills. Toothpastes like these bear the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The logo indicates that the product has been deemed effective in preventing cavities.

The Training Toothpaste Exception

The one exception is for very young toddlers who don’t have full control of their swallowing reflexes yet, and who consume external sources of fluoride, such as fluoride vitamins or fluoridated water, usually below three years of age.

At this stage, kids often swallow more toothpaste than they spit out.

For children too young to reliably spit while brushing, and who live in an area with fluoridated water, parents can consider fluoride-free “training toothpaste” to allow their kids to learn proper brushing habits without accidentally ingesting too much fluoride if they do swallow the paste.

For those that live in an area without fluoridated water, it is ok to brush with a tiny, “grain of rice”-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. If they swallow tiny amounts, and they don’t already consume an external source of fluoride, this can actually be beneficial for the developing permanent teeth.

Once children develop firm brushing habits and can fully spit while brushing, parents should switch them to standard fluoride toothpaste.

How Much Toothpaste Should I Give to My Child?

Only give a small amount of toothpaste to your child – about the size of a grain of rice for toddlers or a pea when they have more teeth.

Dispense it directly onto the toothbrush and have your child spit out any excess after gentle circular brushing motions for about two minutes.

Ingesting too much fluoride can lead to an adverse cosmetic condition called dental fluorosis, which causes the enamel to appear mottled or spotted.

Parents should actively supervise brushing until children develop the dexterity to properly brush on their own, usually around age 8.

Read also: What Toothbrush Do Dentists Really Recommend for Your Kids?

Consult With Your Child’s Dentist

As kids grow, their oral health needs change, too. Having an experienced pediatric dentist is key to setting them up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

As you’re selecting the best toothpaste and dental products for your kids, be sure you also have a dental home you can trust to care for their unique needs.

If you are looking for an experienced pediatric dentist in the Lafayette, LA, area to care for your child’s oral health, contact Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry. We serve families in Lafayette as well as the surrounding communities of Broussard, Youngsville, Carencro, and Breaux Bridge.

Our knowledgeable dental team makes kids feel comfortable while providing education for parents on choosing the best toothpaste for their children and establishing excellent dental habits from the start. Call today to schedule an appointment!