You might think that something as simple as choosing the best toothpaste for your child would be an easy task. But in recent years, the variety of toothpastes specifically customized for children has significantly increased, and the resulting multitude of choices can actually make this a much more difficult process than expected! Choosing the right toothpaste for your child’s smile is an important factor in creating and maintaining good oral hygiene habits as they grow. Here at Cashmere Family Dentistry, we want to help you give your child the best smile possible. Let’s take a look at some of our top tips for choosing the best toothpaste for kids, and why toothpaste is so important for healthy teeth and gums!
What is toothpaste, exactly, and how does it work?
In the simplest terms, toothpaste is a product that increases and maintains oral hygiene. It generally includes antibacterial agents, fluoride, and mild abrasives. When combined with a toothbrush, these mild abrasives can help scrub stains off the surface of the teeth by lightly buffing them away. Meanwhile, the antibacterial agents decrease the quantity of bacteria in the mouth. This not only keeps bad breath at bay, but also helps prevent cavity-causing plaque from forming on the surface of the teeth and gum line. Fluoride fortifies the hard enamel surface of the teeth to help protect them from cavities.
Why is toothpaste important for your child’s oral health?
The human mouth is full of many different kinds of bacteria. Without regular attention, these can group together and create a film over the teeth. This is known as plaque. If plaque isn’t removed daily, it can accumulate over time and cause a number of dental and oral health issues, such as tooth decay and cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste will significantly decrease the risk of them developing these kinds of problems. It will also help to create a lasting healthy smile for them, while promoting their oral health and overall health as well!
How to choose the best toothpaste for your child
Look for toothpaste with the ADA seal — Part of your job as a parent is verifying a product is safe before allowing your child to use it. To maintain optimal dental health, look for toothpastes that have been approved as safe and effective by the ADA. The ADA seal ensures that a particular toothpaste has been objectively tested and approved as safe by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. Their seal of approval is usually located on the toothpaste box and tube.
Skip the harsh abrasives — It’s important to choose an age-appropriate toothpaste for your child. That’s because some toothpastes designed for adults consist of harsh ingredients that may erode and wear away the tooth enamel, the protective outer coating of the teeth. Although abrasives are great for polishing and removing plaque from the teeth, the large amounts of phosphates and alumina found in certain toothpastes can be too strong for a young child’s enamel, and may actually cause their teeth to become too sensitive. To ensure you’re using a toothpaste gentle enough for your child’s teeth, any of our doctors would be happy to recommend one which is age appropriate and most beneficial for your child’s smile!
Fluoride is your friend — According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children of all ages should be using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. This helps to protect their teeth against a buildup of plaque, which can cause cavities. Because ingesting too much fluoride is not recommended due to potentially adverse side effects, the amount of fluoridated toothpaste used must be controlled, especially in younger children. The advised amount for kids three and under is just a “smear” of toothpaste, while a pea-sized amount is recommended for older children. Children under two years of age are generally unable to spit out their toothpaste, so we generally suggest using a toothpaste without fluoride until they are old enough to do so reliably.
Take flavors into consideration — The flavor of a toothpaste isn’t really relevant to how effective it is at maintaining dental health, but choosing a toothpaste that tastes good will certainly make a difference to how excited they are about brushing their teeth! Many children dislike toothpaste with a more traditional mint or spearmint flavor, because it’s too “spicy” for them and makes their mouth or tongue tingle. Kids tend to be much more willing to brush consistently when you offer them more toothpaste flavors that are a little more fun, such as strawberry or bubble gum. Finding a flavor of toothpaste your child can get excited about will encourage them to create the kind of good dental hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.
Creating lasting smiles for your child with Cashmere Family Dentistry
One of the best ways to keep your child’s smile healthy and bright is by scheduling regular checkups with a dentist. Here at Cashmere Family Dentistry, we love working with children! Teaching your child the basics of dental hygiene at a young age is so important, and dental appointments during these formative years can greatly impact the way your child will view dental care for the rest of their life. Our dentists and staff are kind, gentle, and well-versed in communicating with young patients. We strive to provide a rewarding dental experience that is fun for your child and free from fear!
Our team takes the time to get to know each young patient and assess their level of comfort in our office environment. Exams are tailored to their age and their level of comfort. Our three dentists make it a point to know each patient’s needs, and will tailor all office visits to meet those needs and alleviate any fears or doubts. We will work with you to help your child fully understand the importance of caring for their teeth and gums at home, and that can start by choosing the right toothpaste for them! To learn more about our recommendations, give us a call or click here to schedule a visit with our Wenatchee office.