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Toothpaste
Posted on 9/5/2015 by Dr Mark Mutschler
Enough parents ask about toothpaste for their kids that it is worth revisiting. Most of these questions are concerning fluoride in toothpaste.

Common questions about children and kid’s toothpaste:



At what age should I start brushing?


As soon as they have teeth use a soft toothbrush with infant toothpaste or a cloth to wipe them clean.

How often should I brush their teeth with toothpaste?


Usually brushing with toothpaste after breakfast and before bed are enough.

Is there a difference between the brands?


The difference between children’s toothpaste brands are mainly in the flavor, the source of the fluoride, the type of soap used, and the type of sweetener.

Should I use a toothpaste with fluoride?


Parents that are very concerned with oral health and brush their child’s teeth three times daily using a fluoride toothpaste, use a fluoride mouthwash, and give fluoride supplements may be providing too much fluoride, especially in a child under 3.

Children under the age of three are most likely to swallow toothpaste so I recommend using a toothpaste without fluoride up until children are 30 months to three years old.

How much toothpaste should I use?


If your child uses a fluoride toothpaste, only apply a small smear of about a dry grain of rice to the bristles.

Is it bad if my child swallows some of the toothpaste?


If they only have a small smear of toothpaste, then is is generally OK to swallow. Their permanent front teeth are developing up to age 3 so too much fluoride may form small white spots on these front teeth.

Does it matter that the children’s toothpaste is super sweet?


The super sweet flavor of most children’s toothpaste is just fine. They are usually sweetened with an artificial sweetener that does not cause cavities.

For parents that want a more natural sweetener, I recommend they buy toothpaste sweetened with xylitol, a sugar substitute that comes from birch bark and very effective at stopping cavities.

I do think that xylitol is a superior sweetener but generally, any toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association is acceptable.
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