Is your child old enough to use a fluoride toothpaste? Are you unsure of how to choose the best toothpaste to keep them healthy and safe? If so, read on!
First of all, why does tooth brushing matter so much for kids? It matters tremendously, as oral hygiene at a young age is one of the most important factors for preventing tooth decay and disease in adulthood. But it’s not just about forming good habits. In fact, tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease in children ages 6-11! To give you an idea of how common it is, studies demonstrate that “it is about five times as common as asthma.” What makes this statistic even harder to believe is that, with regular tooth brushing, this chronic disease in entirely preventable.
So let’s start with prevention! Choosing the right toothpaste for your child is step one in ensuring a healthy oral hygiene routine.
Steps for Choosing the Right Toothpaste
1. Look for the American Dental Association, or ADA, seal! It may sound obvious to choose a product with this seal, but it bears mentioning. This seal ensures that the product you are buying lives up to the claims that it makes. Consumers can be tricked into buying less-than-desirable products by clever marketing, cutesy designs, or claims of alternative ingredients. If a product is not endorsed by the ADA, be suspicious. Simple as that.
2. Find the fluoride. It is crucial for strengthening teeth and preventing cavities and build-up that turns into plaque. Here is a helpful overview of how fluoride works and why children and adults need it for healthy teeth.
3. Enlist Elmo. Or Batman. Or your child’s favorite fruit flavor. Whatever variety of kids toothpaste you choose, make sure that it has some appeal–character, flavor, or otherwise–for your child. You might also consider allowing them to choose their flavor. For older kids, this might translate into cool (and ADA-approved) packaging, or maybe even a trip to choose an electric toothbrush with some gadget or style appeal.
4. Talk to your child’s dentist. This professional knows your child, and this is the most important factor when choosing the right toothpaste for him or her. Does your child have more sensitive teeth? The dentist can steer your clear of the more abrasive options. Are you hoping to find a brand that features organic ingredients or avoids ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, but aren’t sure where to start? The dentist can recommend his or her favorite brands that fit the bill.
What are your surefire tips to choosing the right kids toothpaste? What has not worked for your family? We’d love to hear your ideas.