Even before little ones sprout their first tooth, it’s a good idea for parents to start a brushing routine to get their baby into the habit of good oral hygiene. There are several brushes that help soothe babies who are teething and don’t require the use of toothpaste. Using a damp washcloth and gently stroking the gums helps to remove bacteria. But once the first tiny tooth makes its way through the gums, it’s time to start brushing for real.
Adult toothpaste should not be used for little ones since whitening and cavity-fighting ingredients can be harmful to a child. There are several types of baby and toddler-friendly toothpaste available and picking the correct one depends largely on your child’s age and abilities.
Children typically develop the ability to spit between the ages of two and three. Some parents don’t feel comfortable using toothpaste with fluoride before their child can spit, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated their recommendations to include toothpaste with fluoride for toddlers as long as only a grain-sized amount is used. Having the child lean over the sink while their teeth are being brushed helps the toothpaste dribble out of the mouth if spitting is still difficult. Once children can successfully spit, this should be increased to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Like adults, children should have their teeth brushed twice per day for two minutes at a time. Brushing time can be a battle, but there are several toothbrushes for kids that help to make brushing time fun. We found that letting our child brush her teeth first and then giving mom or dad a turn has also helped to end the daily wars. Finding toothbrush colors and toothpaste flavors that your child likes also helps, as does singing during brushing time.
For more suggestions on exactly which baby toothpaste is best for your growing family, check out our top picks below.
1. Orajel Elmo FluorideFree Training Toothpaste
For a baby toothpaste that kids can use from babyhood to toddlerhood and beyond, there’s the Orajel Elmo FluorideFree Training Toothpaste. Safe for babies as young as three months and appropriate for kids as old as four years, the gentle toothpaste is fluoride-free and can safely be swallowed. Designed as a non-abrasive way to remove plaque, the baby-safe toothpaste is free from common allergens and additives, including gluten, sugar, dairy, paraben, and dyes. Orajel sells their toothpaste in several fun flavors babies and kids will like and the company has partnered with several character companies, including Sesame Street and Paw Patrol.
2. Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Toddler Training Toothpaste
SAFE FOR 3-MONTH-OLDS
Toddlers who are still learning how to brush their teeth will do well with a fluoride-free toothpaste that is designed with a gentle gel formula. Safe for babies ages three months up to two-year-old toddlers, the training toothpaste from Tom’s comes in a mild fruit flavor that can safely be swallowed. Designed to clean both gums and teeth, the training baby toothpaste is made without the use of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and colors.