Let’s talk toothpaste with Dr. Adena Borodkin of Golden Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry of Golden Valley, MN
Fun fact; people have been using materials to clean their teeth since 500 B.C.. It started with crushed burnt hooves and egg shells. Thankfully, things have improved since then and we now have a wide assortment of toothpastes to choose from.
Ingredients in ‘natural’ and ‘conventional’ toothpastes are very similar. The choice comes down to your kids taste preference, and your preference with how they’re flavored and dyed. For this post we did a super scientific Golden Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry experiment (just kidding, we just went to the Target in St. Louis Park and looked at the labels. Ha!) and compared Colgate’s Strawberry Smash Toothpaste, and Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry.
To start with, for the happiest smiles and happiest kid dentist in Hennepin County, make sure there’s fluoride in your toothpaste. In fact, among the many shared ingredients between the two toothpastes we compared, the most important is fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent painful cavities and decay, and is so important for the health of your kids’ teeth. Most kids who have fluoride in their drinking water, and use a toothpaste that contains fluoride are getting a sufficient amount to prevent issues. You can see if it’s in your drinking water here;
In the past, some have said that fluoride toothpaste should only be used for kids old enough to know how to spit into the sink. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Adena Borodkin, and Golden Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry recommends fluoridated toothpaste be used from the start. The amount they recommend using varies depending on age. A tiny amount, the size of a grain of rice, should be used for kiddos two and under. This amount is safe if ingested. However, you should encourage your child to lean forward so that their spit and toothpaste fall out of their mouth. Once they get to the age of two, it’s easier to tell them to spit their toothpaste out and they can use a larger (pea sized) amount of toothpaste.
If your kids have a sensitive mouth, or you notice that they’re resistant to brushing their teeth, try switching things up. It could be that a more conventional brand has an abrasive or detergent that is too harsh for them. It could also be that they prefer one flavor over another. Take a trip to the store together the next time you’re ready to re-stock! Giving your kiddos say in their toothpaste decision can be empowering, and make them more willing to keep their twice daily tooth brushing schedule.
If you have noticed that your child has unpleasant breath, try switching from a fruity or bubblegum toothpaste flavor to a mint flavor. There are many soft mint options available that are well accepted and not spicy for kids. Also remember to have your kids brush their tongues for better breath and a cleaner mouth.