brushingTooth brushing is one of the most important tasks for good oral health. Many toothpastes, and/or tooth polishes, however, can damage young smiles. They contain harsh abrasives which can wear away young tooth enamel. When looking for a toothpaste for your child make sure to pick one that is recommended by the American Dental Association. These toothpastes have undergone testing to ensure they are safe to use. Some alternatives to the standard toothpaste brands include Tom’s of Maine and the Trader Joe’s branded toothpaste. No matter what brand you choose remember to check the label to make sure it includes fluoride.

toothpaste
Grain of rice (2 and under) vs Pea size (3 to 6 years old)

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) guidelines state that a smear or grain of rice size of toothpaste can be used on children younger than age 2. A smear means just the tips of the toothbrush bristles have toothpaste on them and the toothpaste does not penetrate the bristles. Once children reach age 3, a pea-sized dab can be used.

Remember, children should spit out toothpaste after brushing to avoid getting too much fluoride. If too much fluoride is ingested, a condition known as fluorosis can occur(we will talk about this condition in another post). For children who are younger than 2 we significantly reduce the chance of fluorosis by using the smallest amount necessary to reap the benefits of fluoride.

A good oral hygiene routine is essential for dental health. Starting early and getting your child interested in taking care of themselves will pay off in the long run.

If your child has some sensitivities to certain toothpastes you should try Hello brand toothpastes. They are free of dyes , SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and use xylitol instead of sugar to sweeten the toothpaste.