It can be difficult to know how to choose the right toothpaste to meet the oral health needs of your child. In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of toothpastes made specifically for children to use. Selecting the right toothpaste should go beyond the flavors and the bright colored packaging. At Weideman Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics we have some guidelines to help you to select the toothpaste that is right for your child.
Skipping Harsh Abrasives
A number of toothpastes on the market, particularly those that are advertised as having whitening qualities, can quite often contain abrasives. These mild abrasives are effective at removing residual stains on teeth and removing debris, but they can also remove the enamel from teeth. Abrasive ingredients can result in damage to the tooth enamel on young teeth. You should never allow your children to use whitening toothpastes. They typically contain abrasives that include dehydrated silica gels and calcium carbonate.
Checking for the ADA Seal of Approval
When you are shopping for a toothpaste for your child, it is important to select one that has the American Dental Association seal of approval. This seal will be right on the box and tube, and it assures parents that the toothpaste has been evaluated for safety. If a toothpaste does not have the ADA seal of approval, you should not purchase it.
Checking Fluoride Content
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring ingredient that has long been shown to help reduce tooth decay. Selecting a toothpaste that contains fluoride can help to protect young teeth each time that they brush. Keep in mind that children should always spit out the toothpaste, and not swallow it. If your child is not able to spit out the toothpaste, you should opt for a fluoride-free toothpaste.
The flavor of the toothpaste your children use will not impact the health effects of brushing. It will, however, impact your children’s willingness to brush their teeth. Ensure that the toothpaste tastes pleasant to your child. Many children find that mint and spearmint flavors are too strong for them. They generally prefer the berry and bubblegum options that are more kid-friendly.
Starting Oral Hygiene Routines Early
There is no wrong time to start to establish a good oral hygiene routine. Just because toddlers do not have a full set of teeth does not mean that you should not take the time to clean their gums and mouth. Toddler’s gums can be cleaned with a clean, moist cloth. Gently run the cloth across their gums to remove any residual food debris. This will not only help to protect their gums and soon-to-erupt milk teeth but will also serve to familiarize them with oral care early.
Brushing Twice a Day
To keep cavities and tooth decay at bay, your child should be in a routine of brushing their teeth twice a day, for two minutes. If they mention that they have sensitivity or pain, it is important that they are seen by our dentist for further evaluation.
It is suggested that children be seen by our dentist every six months. At Weideman Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics our child-friendly dental office encourages children to relax and feel at ease while getting the dental treatment that they need to set them up for a life of good dental wellness. Call us at (916) 962-0577 to schedule their next appointment.