Table of Contents
- Dental Hygiene for Babies and Toddlers
- Issues with Fluoride
- What to Look for in Baby Toothpaste
- Beware of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
- If the Teeth Aren’t Permanent, Why Worry about Tooth Decay?
- The Best of Baby Toothpaste
- 1. Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Fluoride Children’s Toothpaste
- 2. Hello Oral Care Kids Fluoride Free Toothpaste
- 3. Jack N’ Jill Natural Toothpaste
- 4. Babyganics Toothpaste
- The Best Baby Toothpaste Wrap Up
When baby’s first tooth pops up in his or her mouth, your first thought probably isn’t to prepare for his or her new dental regimen. You’ll probably spend more time looking for the camera than you will for the toothbrush.
But the truth is that dental care needs to start just then: as soon as the first tooth comes in. However, parents are used to caring for a mouth full of adult teeth, not a baby’s mouth full of sporadic baby teeth. So what are you supposed to do for your baby’s baby teeth?
Dental care is just as important for infants and toddlers as it is for adults, so knowing how to best take care of your child’s teeth is essential parenting know-how. In this article, we’ll review the best way to care for your child’s teeth while looking at the best baby toothpastes out on the market.
Dental Hygiene for Babies and Toddlers
So parents of newborns can rest easy; you don’t really need to start any dental care with your kid until his or first tooth comes in. But once that tooth comes in, you basically treat it as you treat your own teeth. The tooth needs to be brushed daily to prevent plaque and tartar buildup, which lead to decay. Babies and toddlers, however, should not use fluoride toothpaste before two years of age (more on this below). Special baby toothpaste can be had for not too much and it’ll clean babies’ teeth safely and effectively.
Issues with Fluoride
Why can’t babies use fluoride toothpaste? Well, the problem is not so much that the toothpaste has fluoride in it—fluoride is still beneficial for baby teeth—but that a baby can’t really spit out fluoride and may ingest fluoridated toothpaste. Ingesting fluoride is not problematic if it is a tiny amount. However, ingesting too much fluoride can result in permanently discolored teeth, stomach poisoning, and potential fluoride allergies, to name a few. Hence, babies are often better off using baby toothpaste, AKA training toothpaste, up until age two.
Even with baby toothpaste, however, it is important to use the appropriate amount of toothpaste for your child’s age. Children 0-2 should use a glob of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice when they brush, whereas children 2-6 can use a glob the size of a lentil. Everyone above six years of age can use a pea-sized glob of toothpaste.
There are a few other things you should note for baby dental care. For one, they’re babies, so don’t brush as hard as you would for an adult. Overbrushing can damage gums and what little tooth enamel your child may have. Another thing you need to keep in mind, for the same reason, is to use a soft or extra-soft bristle brush when brushing your child’s teeth (or tooth). Bristles that are too hard will damage gums and tooth enamel.
What to Look for in Baby Toothpaste
There are a few things you should have in your baby toothpaste to make sure it’s good. For one, make sure the toothpaste is fluoride-free or low in fluoride. A little fluoride may be good for a baby’s mouth, but too much could present issues if the child ingests the toothpaste—remember, little babies can’t spit toothpaste out.
A fun flavor may also be beneficial for your child when you brush his or her teeth. A foul-tasting toothpaste may make your child pucker up and resist toothbrushing; a nice kids flavor, however, can make brushing more appealing to your kid, making them more compliant with the oft-hated chore of teethbrushing.
Since young children have a harder time spitting out toothpaste, a non-foaming toothpaste may be the best option. Foaming doesn’t really make toothpaste more effective—no matter what we think—but it does increase the volume of the toothpaste, making more that could potentially be ingested.
Beware of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
If there’s anyone you’d think would be safe from tooth decay, it’s a kid still drinking from a bottle. However, it turns out these kids are at risk for a very particular kind of dental problem: baby bottle tooth decay. For this reason, proper oral hygiene is essential for a healthy, happy baby.
What is baby bottle tooth decay (BBTD)? All it really is is tooth decay that develops from improper cleaning after bottle-feeding. BBTD typically affects the front teeth, more often the upper teeth than the lower teeth. As your child drinks from the bottle, bacteria from the bottle’s nipple can hasten the demineralization on the front teeth, leading to enamel erosion.
Bottle-feeders are also exposed to drinks that are typically higher in sugar, such as milk or juice. These sugars feed tooth-eating bacteria and cause them to quickly multiply. As these “bad” bacteria overpower your mouth’s natural “good” bacteria, these bacteria feast on your nutrient-rich tooth enamel, causing cavities and caries to form.
Fortunately, there are very simple proactive steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing BBTD. Cleaning the bottle nipples regularly will cut down on the number of bacteria living on the nipple’s surface. Simply wash the nipples in the dishwasher or in the sink with hot water and soap. Also consider cutting down on sugary drinks for toddlers. More water and less juice will help these kids avoid developing cavities.
If the Teeth Aren’t Permanent, Why Worry about Tooth Decay?
Parents may think that there’s no use in making a big deal about oral hygiene for kids since the teeth will fall out anyway. Here are some reasons why this is not a good line of thinking. For one, baby teeth can remain in a person’s mouth as late as adolescence, so these teeth could be around for over a decade. Plus, tooth decay can cause toothache, which anyone who’s had it knows that toothaches are extremely painful. If tooth decay gets bad enough, the child could potentially develop an infection in the gums, which is astronomically more painful than toothache. Plus, infections at the root of the tooth can lead to a host of other issues, potentially requiring measures as drastic as a root canal. The bottom line is that keeping temporary teeth healthy is just as important as keeping permanent teeth healthy.
The Best of Baby Toothpaste
We’ve reviewed all the top brands and products for baby and toddler toothpaste. Below are our top four picks for the best baby toothpaste.
Tom’s prides itself on making all- or mostly-natural products that are kind to consumers and the planet alike. This philosophy means that Tom’s products are entirely safe for children (though always consult a physician when you’re unsure about a product), including Tom’s fluoride-free children’s toothpaste.
Tom’s toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, but doesn’t rely on a series of complex chemicals and artificial to achieve its aims. In fact, Tom’s lists all of the ingredients in its products on its website so you can see if a particular product is safe for you or your children. Not only do they list the ingredients, but they also provide the purpose and source of each ingredient as well!
On top of all that, this toothpaste actually tastes good thanks to the natural flavors they use in these toothpastes! Kids will love Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Toothpaste and it’ll help get them excited to brush in the morning!
Hello Toothpaste for Kids is another fantastic option that’s aimed towards keeping your growing child’s teeth healthy and strong. The big focus here though is what isn’t in the product – no dyes, no artificial sweeteners, no SLS and no fluoride. It’s even gluten free!
Another major draw to Hello Toothpaste is the variety of natural, real flavors. Kids will get tired of whatever flavor you choose (trust me) so having a wide array of options will help a lot. Hello offers seven different flavors: watermelon, blue raspberry, bubble gum, mojito mint, pure mint, supermint and sweet mint.
Finally, this toothpaste is super cheap. You’ll have a hard time finding another option that’s focused on providing a natural, healthy toothpaste and comes anywhere close to this price point. Each tube is 4.3 oz too, so it’ll last you a good long while.
Jack N’ Jill Toothpaste highlights the power people can have when they set their minds to something they’re passionate about. Jack N’ Jill is a small business created by a mother and father with backgrounds in pharmacy who, having become new parents, wanted to make a toothpaste that was safe for their children to use.
Concerned about the issues surrounding artificial additives and chemicals in products, these two created a toothpaste that is gluten-free, non-GMO, non-allergic, vegan, kosher, and organic. Therefore, this toothpaste should be safe for any child to use since it comes from all-natural ingredients without harmful chemicals.
In addition to all of that, Jack N’ Jill Toothpaste is fluoride-free, so it is safe for kids to use should they be prone to ingesting toothpaste.
Babyganics offers another healthy, natural alternative to baby toothpaste. Like other options on this list, Babyganics Toothpaste is fluoride-free, making it safe to swallow (if that happens). Babyganics also comes in fun, natural flavors to make brushing your teeth more fun for your child.
This great toothpaste can also be had for around $6 a bottle, making it a total bargain compared to other toothpastes out there.
The Best Baby Toothpaste Wrap Up
So which toothpaste is best? As it turns out, that’s up to you to decide! What’s more important to you: cost or quality? Natural or lab-tested?
Your values will help you determine which toothpaste you should give to your child. The reality is that all of the toothpastes mentioned above will give your children’s teeth a pretty thorough cleaning. However, a vegan, for example, will value the toothpaste that refrains from all animal contact over the others.
Fortunately, we live in a day and age in which we have so many good and innovative toothpastes to pick from. Dental health is booming and our resources have never been better, so take advantage of these innovative pastes–as well as other technology like electric toothbrushes—to give your child the cleanest, happiest smile possible.