Toothpaste: Which one to use for your child
Although children get their teeth at different times, first teeth usually appear between six and ten months. Generally, by the time children are three years old, they will have all their baby teeth.
Brushing from when the first tooth appears twice a day is recommended by most oral health professionals. This not only ensures the surfaces of the teeth are cleaned of bacteria that have the potential to cause tooth decay but also helps to establish good habits at an early age for your child.
Although most guidelines recommend not using any toothpaste until 18 months of age, your dentist may recommend using toothpaste from as early as 12 months of age. By the age of 18 months, molar teeth are in the mouth and establishing good brushing habits with toothpaste early reduces the risk of these molars being affected by tooth decay.
A general guide to choosing the best toothpaste for your child
- For children 18 months to 5 years, guidelines recommend low fluoride toothpaste for children in this age group. Low fluoride toothpaste is defined as toothpaste containing 500ppm of fluoride (usually indicated on the box). Listed below are examples of a number of products that are available at most supermarkets or chemists (please note this is not an exhaustive list). Quite often your dentist will recommend these products for children until the age of 5 or 6 with low risk of decay.
- For children within this age range that have a higher risk of decay, we recommend using toothpaste containing 1000ppm of fluoride (again this tends to be indicated on the back of the box). Discussing what type of toothpaste to use for your child is an important conversation that you should have with your dentist during your consultation.
- Once your child is over 6 years of age, we recommend using toothpaste with 1450ppm fluoride. While several adult toothpaste can be used from the ages of 6 and up, some children prefer the milder flavours of the products shown below.
- For children who don’t like the usual toothpaste flavours e.g. mint, Priceline pharmacy and Soul Pattinson chemists stock non-flavoured plain toothpaste. Alternative flavoured toothpaste (strawberry) are also available online
- Natural toothpaste – there are a number of brands of toothpaste that promote themselves as “cruelty-free” and “natural”. You should have a discussion with your dentist regarding the use of these products to ensure appropriate use for your child, as many of these may not contain fluoride.
Finally, remember that discussing what toothpaste your child uses at different ages is an important conversation that should be had at each consultation with your dentist.