When I watch my toddler brush her teeth, I marvel at how self-sufficient she seems. Wasn't she just a baby like a second ago? While she certainly looks grown-up wielding a toothbrush, I know there some things we still need to work on. If she had her way, she'd be using quarter-size globs of toothpaste and swallowing most of it! That's why I did some research on the best toothpaste for toddlers. I wanted to make sure what I was buying was super safe, because even though I'm the one who squirts the toothpaste on the brush, things can get a little harried after that.
In addition to wondering what brands were best, I also had some questions about certain ingredients, like fluoride — is it helpful or harmful for young children? The American Dental Association (ADA) said yes to fluoride, for its ability to remove plaque and fight tooth decay, but recommended that you use it very sparingly. For children less than 3 years of age, the ADA advised using a fluoride toothpaste in "an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice," and for kids ages 3 to 6, use no more than the size of a pea.
With that said, here are 6 ADA-accepted toothpastes for children that you can feel good about.
Silly Strawberry Anticavity Fluoride Natural Kids Toothpaste
This toothpaste has the stuff you want — fluoride and calcium — and none of the stuff you don't, like artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Plus, with its strawberry flavor, your kiddo will like the taste of it, which is always half the battle when trying to initiate teeth-brushing.
Kids Fluoride Toothpaste Blue Raspberry
PRO-SYS Kids Bubblegum Toothgel
This toothpaste from PRO-SYS has a foaming action that your kids will enjoy, and you can breathe easy knowing that it prevents cavities, gingivitis, and plaque, all while being triclosan-free.
Oraline Kids Fluoride Bubblegum Toothpaste
$14 for a case
You might think that $14 for a small tube of children's toothpaste is ludicrous, but that price is actually for an entire case of the stuff! If you don't mind buying in bulk (hello Costo moms!), then you'll love this toothpaste. Oraline Kids is made by JM Murray, a non-profit that has been in business for 45 years, and that employs people with disabilities or other barriers to independence. When you buy a case of the toothpaste, you'll be doing something good for your family's teeth, and giving back to the community at the same time.
Crest Kid's Cavity Protection Toothpaste
Aquafresh Kids Cavity Protection Fluoride Toothpaste Bubblemint
This sugar-free toothpaste is designed for kids 2 and up. It provides sugar acid protection and freshens breath, because yes, toddlers can — and do— have morning breath! Your kids will probably like the bubblemint taste too.