What Is the Best Toothpaste for My Child?

As a parent, selecting the best toothpaste for your child can be an overwhelming task, and we at Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos are here to help. We are pleased to offer personalized guidance and at-home oral hygiene tips to keep cavities and gum disease at bay. Our goal is to instill positive lifelong habits for healthy smiles that last a lifetime!

Choosing the Right Toothpaste for Your Child

There are numerous types of toothpaste on the market, and even more are advertised on social media. Your trusted team at Dentistry of San Marcos follows the guidelines of the American Dental Association and recommends only products that have been tested over time. 

If your child has ever had a cavity or has an increased risk for tooth decay, we may recommend using a traditional fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride, in appropriate amounts, is perfectly safe for children. The cavity-fighting mineral lowers the risk of decay, keeping your child’s smile healthy. Make sure to choose toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance, which indicates that it has been evaluated for safety and effectiveness. 

Other factors to consider may include the color and flavor of the toothpaste, which can significantly impact your child’s willingness to brush their teeth. Have fun and explore different types of toothpaste to get your little one excited about brushing their teeth.  

Is Too Much Fluoride Safe?

Consuming large amounts of fluoride when a child’s teeth are developing can lead to dental fluorosis, a cosmetic concern characterized by white spots appearing on the teeth. We recommend a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children over three and no more than a grain of rice for children under three. It is important to have your child mimic an adult and learn to spit out appropriately when they are old enough. It is also important to supervise brushing time and keep the toothpaste out of reach of little children. 

Is Whitening Toothpaste Safe for Children? 

We recommend waiting until all the permanent teeth have emerged, around age 12, before considering the use of whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes contain large amounts of abrasives, like baking soda or larger toothpaste particles, as found in Crest 3D White. They also have titanium dioxide, which is used as a whitening agent. Many whitening toothpastes advertised on social media have little to no long-term clinical trials. In addition, there are plenty of “natural whitening hacks” promoted on platforms like TikTok, which can severely and permanently damage your children’s front teeth.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed many DIY product disasters resulting in cavities across the front teeth. Make sure to consult with our team at Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos before using any teeth whitening method to prevent permanent damage to your child’s teeth and gums.

Brushing Best Practices

It’s important to clean your child’s gums by wiping them down with a clean, soft cloth before any teeth emerge. Once the first tooth comes in, it’s time to introduce a soft-bristled, infant-sized toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. Around age 2-3, start using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and emphasize the importance of spitting after brushing. Keep toothpaste out of your little one’s reach and help with brushing until about age six. 

Your child needs to brush every morning and before bed for two minutes each time. A fun two-minute song can encourage your little one to stay on track. Teach your child to place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use a gentle, circular motion to brush a small section of the mouth at a time. Make sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, including the outsides, insides, and chewing surfaces.

Preventive Dental Care Near Me

Contact Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos to learn more about maintaining healthy habits for long-term healthy smiles. Dr. Nadia, Dr. Allen, and our kid-friendly team can help you choose the right toothpaste for your child. We are also happy to demonstrate good oral hygiene habits to keep dental disease at bay. Call us at 760-798-2825 to schedule your little one’s appointment, or complete our online appointment request form today!