What’s the Right Toothpaste for Your Kids?
Choosing the right toothpaste for your little surfer is an important part of their oral health. Like any consumer product these days, the choices are abundant and can be overwhelming. Along with flossing and regular check-ups with your board-certified pediatric dentist at Smile Surfers, brushing is a critical part of keeping your little surfer’s mouths and teeth healthy.
Why Toothpaste is Important
Using the right toothpaste and brushing regularly is important. Toothpaste contains three main things that actively help keep our teeth clean:
- A mild abrasive which help remove the bacteria that gather on our teeth. This bacteria can turn into a film over the teeth (plaque) if not cleaned away. As the plaque accumulates, cavities, bad breath and gum disease can result.
- Antibacterial agents in the toothpaste also help decrease the number of bacteria living in our mouths (and they are thousands!).
- Fluoride helps fortify the outer enamel surface of the teeth to protect them from cavities.
How to Choose the Right Toothpaste
Brushing twice a day with the right toothpaste can significantly reduce the chance of oral health problems occurring. Here are a few tips for how to pick the right toothpaste for your little ones.
- Always pay attention to the age recommendations on the toothpaste label. They are labeled appropriately by age for a reason. One ingredient to avoid is sodium lauryl sulfate which can cause painful canker sores for some kids.There are differences between adult toothpaste and children toothpaste options. Adult choices usually feature whitening agents or other chemicals not meant for a child’s tooth enamel. The abrasives used in adult toothpastes is too harsh for little mouths, so be mindful that you choose one that is not going to erode or damage their young teeth.
- The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends parents begin brushing their baby’s gums just a few days after birth! There are 20 teeth sitting under those little gum just waiting to erupt. You can begin their cleaning habit by gently wiping the gums with a moist gauze pad or a washcloth. This keeps baby’s mouth and gums clean – creating a healthy environment for those 20 teeth to come into!
- The ADA also recommends that children use fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride will protect teeth as children age. For kids under the age of three, use a very small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. A pea-sized amount is appropriate for older brushers. Little ones under the age of three may not be able to spit out their toothpaste. Ask your pediatric dentist for toothpaste options that will be safe yet effective.
- Natural toothpaste options are becoming more popular, and these are good choices, too! Look for the ADA approval seal to ensure the natural toothpaste you like meets all the standards for protecting teeth.
- Look for the ADA seal of approval. While toothpaste evaluation by the ADA is voluntary, one that carries their seal ensures that it has been approved as safe. Since participation is mandatory, it’s important to note that there are good toothpaste options that will not carry the ADA seal.
- While the flavor doesn’t impact the performance of the toothpaste, something that is pleasant to your little one means they will enjoy brushing their teeth and develop the habit of regular brushing.
Ask the Experts
If you have any questions about what toothpaste you should choose, or if you have a little surfer with sensitive teeth or other health considerations, please talk to us today. Our board-certified pediatric dentists at Smile Surfers can provide guidance and information to help you make the right choice for your children.