Teaching or working with a toddler to brush their teeth can be a challenging task. Even if they loved brushing their teeth as a baby, now it can be a completely different story. Dentist suggests that toddlers brush their teeth twice a day and without toothpaste that they like it can really be a struggle. When trying to get them to brush regularly the last night you want to worry about is the toothpaste formula. We have created a list of gentle toddler toothpaste that will actually make them enjoy the experience. The list includes the Top Toddlers Toothpastes that have been reviewed and researched. These are our picks.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Hello Oral Care Fluoride
- Blue Raspberry Taste
- Hello Oral Care Natural Watermelon
- Vegan Brand
- Tom's of Maine Anticavity
- Prevents Cavity
General Information On Toddlers and Teeth
While a general rule of thumb is teeth begin coming between 5 and 8 months of age, some babies start as soon as 3 months of age. You may not see a tooth for some time, but using a wet cloth to clean off gums can be positive when that first chomper shows up.
You will be able to feel the first tooth before you see it whether it is during feeding or just trying to figure out what all of the drool is about. It is now recommended that you see your child’s dentist as soon as the first tooth appears or before his/her first birthday, whichever comes first.
Making sure there is not milk, formula, or anything containing sugar (looking at you, teething biscuits) sitting on your baby’s teeth will prevent tooth decay. Yes, they are going to fall out anyway, but teeth have an important role in the development of speech as well as holding the door for those adult teeth to come in.
At this first appointment, you will learn how to brush your toddler’s teeth, given the option to have a fluoride treatment, and also have the opportunity to ask any questions you were afraid to ask your moms’ group.
If you cannot get your toddler to brush his/her teeth, there are things you can try to entice him/her. Holding them down will make them hate brushing their teeth so it is counterproductive. Working with the toddler mind is the way to go with things like this.
1. Forget toothpaste for a bit. Especially when they are infants, just rub the toothbrush around in their mouths. They may actually find that it makes their mouths feel better. Then introduce toothpaste gradually.
2. Play at brushing a doll’s teeth.
3. Switch it up and have your toddler brush your teeth.
4. Sing about it. Broadway and Disney may be onto something here. Singing is fun and kids dig fun. If you can turn teeth brushing into an amusement, you are going to get better results.
5. Start small and just do a quick swish in her/his mouth. Gradually, increase the time you are swishing and then once she/he is actually brushing, make it longer until you have reached the recommended time frame.
6. Let the toddler have the toothbrush. As long as he or she is with you and sitting still just let him or her chomp away. If you have to leave for any reason, take it away. Certainly, do not let a toddler run around with the toothbrush.
7. Copycat is a big thing for kids. They like to do what mommy and daddy do. Make it a family affair and brush all at the same time in front of the mirror. Help your child finish up and voila! Make sure you finish with a flourished smile in the mirror. Maybe you even come up with a catchphrase for when the teeth brushing is over.
Teeth are important and taking care of them is vital to keeping them healthy. Learning to take care of them early and parents learning how to teach something so difficult can be a lifelong win.
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Toddler Toothpaste
When it comes to our children, every family has different criteria that a product has to meet to make it past the door. Something that contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate may cause concern for some, but others may have never heard of it. Doing your own independent research is encouraged at the decision stage.
For this particular list, certain criteria had to be met to make it onto the list. You should always check to see for yourself if this is the first time you have looked into it. One of the most important criteria was if the ingredients are clearly and legibly stated on the product package. Parents want to know what is going into their child’s body and if a company will not disclose it, you should look elsewhere.
If it is not on the product itself, does the company have a website that includes good information and not just good graphics? If you cannot get past graphics to the facts, then you should be wary. All of these products have websites with clear instructions and lists of ingredients as well as warnings. Transparency should be the norm, but until it is, the consumer is responsible for cutting through the smokescreen to get to the picture.
In that interest, this list includes only products that are safe for swallowing with one clearly noted exception. Apart from fluoride, these toothpaste manufacturers understand that most kids are going to be more interested in eating the toothpaste than brushing it on their teeth. Even the most careful mom may miss the fact that a tube of toothpaste is missing and being sucked dry by their magical 2-year-old. While careful monitoring is a must during tooth brushing, some of the stress over what is going past the teeth and into the tummy can be reduced.
Whether or not the ingredients are natural is a consideration for this list. Everything has to be processed for it to be safe thanks to environmental pollutants today, but are the products being processed in an Earth-friendly and eco-friendly way?
Whether or not a child is going to actually use this was considered and the yays outweighed the nays. The fact that every child is different makes this a fairly loose criteria, but if it is a waste of money it matters very little if it is safe or not. The reviews examined are Amazon reviews as well as other web-based reviews.
A Closer Look at Your Toddler’s Developing Teeth
Most of us parents are already familiar with the signs of teething-–one of the most anticipated developmental milestones of any baby. While most of us believe that younger babies don’t have any teeth yet, the fact of the matter is that they already have a complete set of 20 deciduous or young tooth buds that are still hidden underneath the gums. Taking care of your child’s teeth actually depends on how well you understand teeth development in children. Here are some of the more important things that you need to understand.
- The first teeth to erupt are the two central incisors located in the front of the lower jaw, typically occurring between 6 to 10 months.
- The second pair of teeth to erupt is the two central incisors of the upper jaw which typically occur around 8 to 13 months.
- Once both upper and lower central incisors have erupted, the teeth beside them, called the lateral incisors, can begin to show, usually around 8 to 16 months.
- The fourth set of teeth to erupt is the upper and lower molars which usually show by around 13 to 19 months.
- By the age of 16 months up to 23 months, your child’s canine teeth or “fangs” start to erupt.
- The last to erupt are the second row of molars, occurring between 25 and 33 months.
It is thus safe to say that toddlers will already have the complete set of 20 deciduous, milk, temporary, or primary teeth by the time they reach their 3rd year.
Things to Look for in the Right Toothpaste for Toddlers
Based on what we have presented so far, toddlers require a special kind of toothpaste that may be far different from the ones that we use as adults. This is due to the fact that their teeth are primarily deciduous or temporary and are a bit different from the structure of adult teeth. As such, it is imperative that we know how to choose the right toothpaste for them. Here are a few things that you need to look for in the right toothpaste for toddlers.
- Fluoride, if able to spit; fluoride-free if still unable to spit
Fluoride is a substance that is very important in the development of healthier and stronger teeth. This substance is needed in strengthening the outermost protective layer of the teeth, making it hard to break. This also makes it impermeable to the acids and other substances that are produced by bacteria and other microorganisms that reside in the oral cavity as well as the acids and other highly corrosive substances found in foods and drinks. Without fluoride, the temporary teeth of toddlers can be especially vulnerable to the development of tooth decay. That is why it is imperative that the toothpaste we choose for our toddlers to use must contain fluoride.
Unfortunately, there is a catch. If your toddler ingests too much of fluoride from his or her toothpaste, he or she is actually more prone to the development of brown or white discolorations on his or her teeth that have not erupted yet. This condition is known in the medical and dental community as fluorosis. While it does not pose any threat to the function or overall integrity of the teeth, it can be a source of anxiety both for the growing child and for the parent. A child who may notice streaks of faint white or brownish lines on his or her teeth may become overly conscious about its appearance. It should be understood that fluorosis only affects teeth that have not erupted yet. Once teeth have already broken through the gums, fluorosis no longer develops.
Given the fact that fluorosis occurs while teeth are still within the gums, it is recommended by the American Dental Association that fluoride-free toothpaste should be given to children who are not yet able to spit the liquid they use to rinse their mouth after brushing their teeth. This is to help reduce the amount of fluoride that children can accidentally ingest. This is especially true if your child is also drinking from a water source that is already fluoridated. Using fluoride toothpaste can only increase the levels of fluoride present in the child’s system if he or she is still unable to spit.
As such, as a matter of rule, if your toddler is still unable to spit, then you have to choose non-fluoridated or fluoride-free toothpaste. Otherwise, if your child can already spit the fluid in his or her mouth, then fluoride toothpaste is the answer. However, it is important to understand that there are also other sources of fluoride. Tap water and dental applications are two of these.
- Kid-friendly flavors
While adults may relish cool minty flavors, the same may not hold true for young kids, especially toddlers who may have not yet fully developed the knack for a variety of tastes or flavors. Naturally, we want them to love brushing their teeth and one of the most effective ways you can ensure this is by giving them something that they love. Toddlers and other young children have a natural tendency for sweet flavors. That’s why strawberries, watermelon, and other sweet fruity tastes often work. However, it is more important to run through the different flavors that are available and let your child choose which among these he or she likes best. You may have to buy different flavor variants until your toddler can decide on which toothpaste he or she would like to use. It may incur some additional expense, but if you can get your child to have a more pleasant and really enjoyable teeth-brushing experience, then it’s all worth it.
- No harmful ingredients
You can always go the all-natural route. However, you have to read the fine lines as even toothpastes that have been labeled as containing all-natural ingredients tend to have other substances that may be incorporated into the paste. Examples of things that you need to be wary of include artificial coloring agents, preservatives, and even certain artificial flavorings that may be detrimental to your kid’s health in the long run. While these substances are commonly found in products that we use as adults, our anatomy and physiology is inherently different from that of our kids. These substances may be safe for us, but the same may not be true for children, especially the younger ones.
How to Develop Healthy Oral and Dental Health Habits for Your Tots
It is one thing to choose the right toothpaste for your toddler and it’s another thing to actively encourage and promote correct oral hygiene for kids. It is important to recognize the mutual relationship between oral health and general health; that a problem in one can lead to an issue in the other, and vice versa. As parents, it is up to us to help our young kids develop healthy oral and dental health habits. Here are some tips.
- Make brushing the teeth an enjoyable experience for them. Try to play fun music while your toddler is brushing his or her teeth. You can choose children’s songs that last two minutes to serve as a timer for your kid’s brushing. Integrate some boogie dance moves while brushing.
- Consider using modern technology such as an electric toothbrush to help encourage your toddler to brush his or her teeth. There are a variety of devices and gadgets that actually motivate young children to brush and care for their dentition. These are often integrated as play time activities.
- Be a good role model for them. Toddlers already love to imitate. If they see you brushing your teeth the correct way, they will be more than encouraged and motivated to do the same thing. You can schedule a teeth-brushing time together.
- Establish a routine. While most toddlers hate having a routine, if you structure it enough that tots will associate it with something that they love, then the routine can be something that they’ll look forward to.
- Watch what you’re giving to your kids. Young children still deserve all the sweets and the goodies they love. However, you can set limits to how much they eat or teach them to brush their teeth right after eating these treats. If such is not possible, then you will have to teach them to always drink water to wash away food debris.
- Create a brushing calendar. Toddlers love to see their accomplishments. If they see they are steadily progressing towards their goal for the week or even the month, they’d be more motivated to keep on doing what they have already started.
- Design a positive reinforcement system. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Just a simple way to acknowledge your tot’s accomplishments should be enough.
- Don’t forget to get your toddler his or her first dental visit by the time he or she reaches the 1styear of his or her life. This way you can also be assisted by your dentist on what you can do to better care for your tot’s growing teeth while also encouraging him or her to begin observing healthy dental habits.
It is important to understand that young children, especially babies and toddlers, have very unique needs and special requirements when it comes to caring for their developing teeth. Using the right toothpaste and teaching them to develop healthy dental habits early in their lives are a must if we want to see them growing up with excellent oral and dental health.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are these in a certain order of preference, price, or another factor for ranking?
A: The only products in a specific order are those of the same company, but for different ages and stages. Price was not a factor nor were search engine results a factor.
Q: Can these only be purchased on Amazon?
A: While some of these may be difficult to find at your local drug store, the links to Amazon are a practical matter. In the interest of not linking to several different websites and doing a cost comparison that way, Amazon already has a compare feature. They also have many reviews from verified purchasers and various buying options.
Q: Do these come in different flavors?
A: Some do have different flavors. It is another practicality issue. There are links to different flavors in addition to the cost and compare feature on Amazon. The company’s website may have a list that makes it easier to search for and should be viewed for accurate information from the source.
Q: Why should I teach my toddler how to brush his teeth before they all come in?
A: The first set of teeth your child gets are going to fall out no matter what. Baby teeth are the training wheels of their future oral hygiene. Teaching your kids to brush their teeth early can help with the battle when they get older. Finding a toothpaste that your kids will use is like finding a food texture your child finds acceptable. This list is based on an abundance of reviews by parents.
Q: Is it necessary to buy a toothpaste just for your children?
A: Adult kinds of toothpaste tend to have a strong smell. Mint is not a fan favorite of young children because it causes a strange cooling sensation from their mouths to their tummies. In addition, toothpaste formulated with kids in mind takes into consideration that kids will suck the paste off of the brush and swallow as opposed to brushing and spitting.
Q: Why is there only one toothpaste on this list with fluoride?
A: Dentists are now questioning whether or not to use fluoride toothpaste for toddlers so that is another thing to consider when deciding on a training toothpaste. If you are using city water to wet your child’s toothbrush, they are getting some amount of fluoride anyway. Too much fluoride has its own set of problems.
Q: Why go natural? It’s only toothpaste.
A: Chemicals enter our bodies everywhere from our clothes to our food. The inside of our mouths send chemicals directly into our bloodstreams and can disrupt natural bodily functions. Growth hormones in animals for instance already do this, so choosing a toothpaste may seem trivial, but it is just one more way to keep chemicals out of our kids.