When deciding on the right toothpaste for your child, the first point to consider is their age. Here are a few tips from our North Delta children's dentists on how to choose the best toothpaste for your kids.
Toothpaste for Children Under 3
For most children under 3 years of age dentists recommend that brushing be done for the child by an adult, using only plain water and a soft toothbrush. That said, if your child's dentist feels that there is an unusually high risk of tooth decay they may recommend using a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing your child's teeth. Ask your dentist whether your young child needs the extra protection of fluoride before using.
If your dentist has determined that your child is at risk of tooth decay and recommends using a fluoride toothpaste, brush your child's teeth using a portion of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. This very small amount of toothpaste offers your child a balance between the benefits of fluoride and the risk of developing fluorosis.
Toothpaste for Children Over 3
For children over 3 years of age, fluoride toothpaste is recommended. There are many child friendly toothpastes available from grocery stores and pharmacies but not all children's toothpastes include fluoride. Look for the symbol of the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) on the package to find children's toothpastes that contain fluoride.
Our dentists recommend that you continue brushing your child's teeth until they have developed adequate manual dexterity to brush their own teeth thoroughly, at around age 6. Allowing your child to brush their own teeth first, then taking over to make sure the job is done right is often the best approach.
Children between 3 and 6 years of age should only use a pea size amount of children's fluoride toothpaste when brushing, and be sure that your child spits it out. Swallowing excessive amounts of toothpaste could result in dental fluorosis
Fluorosis is a cosmetic dental condition that results in white or brown spots on the adult teeth. Fluorosis is caused by consuming too much fluoride while the teeth are still forming and does not develop after teeth have already erupted. In most cases of fluorosis is caused by young children taking fluoride supplements or swallowing fluoride toothpaste when the water they drink is already fluoridated.