What Kind of Toothpaste Should My Kids Use?

Have you been by the oral care section of your grocery store or drug store lately? There are so many choices for toothpastes these days. In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that there may be too many choices for toothpaste on the market.

Obviously, there are a select number of brands of toothpaste that we all recognize and use regularly – with Colgate, Crest, Aquafresh, and Tom’s of Maine topping the list. But even when shopping your favorite toothpaste brand, you’re still faced with an astounding number of choices. Most toothpaste brands offer anti-decay toothpastes that contain fluoride compounds. These are the most common. Other brand offerings include desensitizing toothpastes for those who have sensitive teeth. You also see a lot of anti-calculus and anti-plaque toothpastes. Many brands also offer a “whitening” version of their toothpaste. So, when looking for a toothpaste for your kids, many parents are left scratching their heads and wondering what to look for.

Here at Dr. Cobb’s office we get questions and phone calls on the subject all the time. So, we thought that it was about time that we gave all our readers some advice on the matter. First, let’s remember that the primary function of any toothpaste is to facilitate the brushing process and help prevent gum disease. Having said that, it’s safe to say that any ADA-approved toothpaste (when used 2 to 3 times daily, per recommendations) should be a great choice for your kids or yourself.

The ADA (or American Dental Association) has a whole page on their website devoted to “ADA Seal of Acceptance” products. You can visit that page by clicking here.

Some of the ADA-approved toothpastes for kids include the following (in no particular order):

  • Colgate for Kids Toothpaste
  • Crest Kids SparkleFun Cavity Protection Gel         
  • Aquafresh for Kids Toothpaste
  • Tom’s of Maine Natural Fluoride Toothpaste for Children

Another question that we often hear concerns all the funny flavors that are available in toothpaste for kids and how appropriate it may be to give fruit flavored or bubblegum flavored toothpaste to little ones that haven’t yet learned not to eat the stuff. First off, toothpaste is definitely not something you want to eat or swallow. It’ll make little tummies quite sick. So, if your child is too young to know the difference between edible and inedible, you may want to supervise all brushing activity. Fruit-flavored or not, some may try to eat it. And to address the funny-flavored toothpaste topic, we can easily say that we approve as long as it has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, they follow all usage directions, and keep brushing those teeth!

If you have questions about toothpaste for your children, or if you’d like a toothpaste recommendation, feel free to ask Dr. Cobb or one of the dental hygienists here at the office. We’ll be glad to give you a few tips. Remember: good oral hygiene habits, combined with healthy food choices and bi-annual checkups, are the best ways to prevent tooth decay and maintain a beautiful smile. Keep brushing, everybody!

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