Here’s something that may surprise you. Did you know that some reports indicate that 50 percent of children have some level of gum disease? It’s easy for that to happen.
Between kids getting food stuck in between their teeth, consuming junk food and not brushing (and flossing) properly, oral decay is bound to happen. That’s why it’s important for your kids to see their dentist every six months. They also need to brush and floss well.
This includes choosing the right toothpaste for kids. Do you make sure that your children brush after every meal, but you haven’t given the kind of toothpaste that they’re using much thought? If so, this article will help you out.
What’s in Toothpaste?
Most of us grew up using toothpaste. But have you ever thought about why you were using it? There are several ingredients in toothpaste that help to promote good oral hygiene:
- Calcium carbonate and silicates “scrub” your teeth to remove food particles
- Sodium lauryl sulfate works as a detergent to cleanse your teeth
- Mint, cinnamon, and saccharin help to give toothpaste its taste (so that brushing is more of a pleasant experience)
- Humectant properties in gels and pastes keep your toothpaste from drying out
Then there’s fluoride. It’s considered to be the most important ingredient in toothpaste.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Whenever you eat or drink something that is loaded with sugar or starches, bacteria like to feed off of it. This is where fluoride comes in. It’s a mineral that helps to protect your teeth’s enamel from the acid that tries to damage your teeth.
Fluoride does this by strengthening your teeth’s enamel. It also helps to remineralize your teeth over time.
If you’ve heard that there are health risks with using fluoride, concerns about cancer are unfounded. As far as if it impairs brain development in children, that’s usually related to heavy amounts of fluoride in drinking water. Even then, studies are ongoing and not a huge cause of concern.
Speaking of water that has fluoride in it, as an adult, it’s not a good substitute for the kind that’s in your toothpaste. Your toothpaste brand is formulated to give your teeth the kind of protection that they need.
How Do You Choose the Right Toothpaste for Kids?
Now that you know more about toothpaste and what’s in it, how do you decide what’s the best toothpaste for kids at home? Since there are so many to choose from, how do you feel confident about your decision? There are a few factors to keep in mind. Here are a few of them.
It Needs to Have the Right “Seal of Approval” on It
The most important thing to keep in mind is toothpaste needs to have the American Dental Association (ADA) logo on it. Whenever you see it, that means the association marks their seal of approval on the toothpaste’s effectiveness.
The Fluoride Amount Depends on Your Dentist
When you’re choosing toothpaste for kids, you might automatically assume to get the kind with fluoride in it. Before doing so, speak with your child’s dentist.
The reason why is because children under the age of six months don’t need it. For older children, if there’s fluoride in your tap water, it might be enough for your kid’s oral health. Sometimes, fluoride supplements may be necessary (like if your child only drinks bottled water) but your dentist will have to make that call.
The bottom line here is your dentist can tell you how much or little fluoride is beneficial for your child based on their age and the condition of their oral health. It’s an important discussion to have because too much could lead to dental fluorosis.
That’s what occurs when the appearance of tooth enamel changes. It sometimes happens before a child turns eight (as their teeth are still forming).
Avoid Potent Ingredients
While choosing toothpaste for children, it’s important to remember that they are still kids. Their teeth are still developing, so they don’t need whitening brands or a toothpaste that’s super abrasive. Also, if you use charcoal on your teeth, that can be too much for a little one’s digestive system.
The rule to follow here is to select a brand that’s made for children. There are many toothpastes on the market that are designed specifically for them.
Toothpaste for Kids: Taste Is Everything
There’s no point in getting a great brand of toothpaste if your child hates the taste of it. When you’re narrowing down your choices, a popular option is a fruity-flavored toothpaste. Something that is minty might be too harsh for them (at least until they get older).
When Brushing Kids Teeth, Less Is More
Whether your dentist recommends a toothpaste that contains fluoride or a fluoride free one, implement the “less is more” rule for your kids. What this means is:
- If your child is under the age of 2, they need a smear of toothpaste
- If your child is between 2 and 5, they need toothpaste that is pea-sized
- If your child is over the age of 5, they can handle the same amount of toothpaste as you
If you follow these tips and make sure to replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months, they will be on the road to having healthy teeth and gums.
Do You Live in the Dallas Area? Let Us Provide Your Child’s Dental Needs
Now you know how to choose the right toothpaste for kids to maintain your children’s oral health. Also, if you happen to live in the Dallas area and you have children who need a dentist, we’d be happy to help. We offer both pediatric and orthodontics services.
For more information, give us a call at (214) 453-2565 or contact us on the site.