With so many brands on the market, it can be tough to choose the right toothpaste for your child. You may be tempted to just pick the first one that catches your eye, under the assumption that they're mostly all the same. But it's important to find the right one that will properly clean your child's teeth without damaging them. We at Arlington Pediatric Dentistry are here to help, so here are a few simple tips for selecting the right toothpaste for you!
Picking the Right Amount of Fluoride
Most toothpaste on the market is made of a few simple elements - an abrasive agent to scrub stains and plaque from the teeth, some kind of flavoring to make it taste better, and fluoride to help strengthen and preserve the enamel. The biggest difference between toothpastes is going to be the amount of fluoride.
Kids need different amounts of fluoride depending on their age. Too much fluoride can be harmful for children below the age of four, causing damage to their baby teeth. If your child is one or two years old, the American Dental Association recommends that you use a fluoride free toothpaste when brushing their teeth. When your child turns three, it is recommended that you switch to a fluoride toothpaste, but be careful not to use too much.
How Much Toothpaste Should I Use?
For very young kids, too much fluoride toothpaste can cause damage to their teeth. This is called dental fluorosis, and can appear as small white spots on the teeth, or, in severe cases, some pitting or decay. This is why it's so important to use the right amount of toothpaste.
For children aged three or under, the ADA and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend only a a small smear of fluoride toothpaste, no larger than a grain of rice, as soon as teeth erupt. For kids aged three to six, a dollop about the size of a pea is the right amount. Using a little too much toothpaste now and again probably isn't going to cause any issues, but if your child is regularly using too much, he or she may be at risk for dental fluorosis.
Let Your Child Help!
Letting your kiddo help choose their own toothpaste is a great way to get them involved and enthusiastic about their own dental health. Take them to the store with you and let them pick some out for themselves! Just make sure you know how much fluoride is in it, and look for the ADA seal of approval. Or, you can bring a few different flavors home for your child and let them try each one individually. A nice flavor is important to a child, and they're much more likely to enjoy brushing their teeth if they like the taste of their toothpaste!
It may seem like there are too many options to choose from, but if you stick to these simple tips, you'll be sure to pick out the perfect toothpaste for your child. We at Arlington Pediatric Dentistry are always committed to your family and their smiles, so if you want to make an appointment or even just pick up a few more tricks, give us a call today at 360-657-1650!