So you’re at the store with your child and looking through the huge variety of toothpaste trying to find one that is just right for your child. Well fear not mom or dad World Pediatric Dental is here to help! What is a good toothpaste for a child? Lets look at a few things.
First of all, what is fluoride? It is the 13th most abundant element on the earth’s crust. Fluoride is found naturally in the dirt, water and even in some of our foods. What does fluoride actually do? Mainly fluoride protects your teeth from demineralization. When bacteria in your mouth combine with sugar they produce acid and without fluoride on your teeth this acid can erode tooth enamel and damage your child’s teeth. What the fluoride does is act as a a barrier or shield that sits on top of the tooth enamel and stops that acid from getting through to damage the teeth. But what if there is already some damage done to the teeth from this acid? Well fluoride can accumulate in the demineralization areas and begins strengthening the enamel, a process called remineralization.
Bottom Line – Fluoride is extremely useful in preventing cavities and making teeth stronger. However, once a cavity has been formed it is much less effective. For children ages 1-3 we recommend using just a smear of fluoride toothpaste on a soft bristle toothbrush. For ages 3 and up use a small pea sized amount on a soft bristle toothbrush. Both examples are illustrated below.
Look for the ADA Seal
OK, so we know so far when looking for a toothpaste that fluoride is recommended to help stop acid from damaging your child’s enamel, but what else? ALWAYS look for the ADA seal. It is very important that the toothpaste you get is approved by the American Dental Association. The seal can be found on the box and it lets you know that the toothpaste has been evaluated and tested for safety by the ADA. Below is a picture of a children’s toothpaste box showing what the ADA seal looks like.
No abrasive chemicals!
Many toothpastes on the market contain chemicals which can be abrasive to your child’s teeth and can damage their tooth enamel, the main culprit are those advertised as ‘whitening’. These are fine on an adult’s teeth, but can damage young tooth enamel.
Be wary of impostors!
In 2007, toothpaste imported from China was found to contain a toxic substance, diethylene glycol, which is extremely poisonous. The FDA advises against choosing toothpaste that says it was made in China. This is also another reason we recommend you look for the ADA seal on the box to ensure that the toothpaste has been properly tested and approved.
Whats the best toothpaste?
The best toothpastes are the ones that follow what we laid out above: contains fluoride, has the ADA seal and contains no abrasive chemicals! After that it really comes down to what’s comfortable for you and your child. For parents trying to instill good oral hygiene you might try fruit flavored toothpastes with sparkles to make your child want to brush their teeth more because they like the taste of the toothpaste. Other parents might want to go with toothpastes that contain only natural ingredients.
The bottom line: there is no one best toothpaste, just follow the guidelines we have suggested and go from there to meet your child’s individual likes/needs and what you as a parent believe will work best to get your child to want to brush twice a day!
If you have any questions about anything feel free to give us a call at 210-888-0700 or leave a comment below!