The average adult makes 35,000 decisions each day. I’d argue that moms of young children make even more decisions. Ensuring the safety and well-being of our kids is a top priority and often even the seemingly simple decisions, like choosing a toothpaste for kids, can be fraught with challenges.
With a myriad of choices like natural toothpaste options that are sodium lauryl sulfate-free and fluoride-free, or popular brands we all know, finding the best and safest toothpaste for our kids can be difficult. Then there’s the all-important taste factor of whether a child will tolerate a standard minty-fresh taste or prefers a non-mint toothpaste option, like fruit punch, bubble gum, or watermelon.
With all of these choices, figuring out which kids’ toothpaste is the best, safest, and most effective option is hard. This coupled with making sure your child likes the flavor, and that it also fights cavities, makes for a difficult decision. Here we share some background that could help you choose a toothpaste for your kids that checks all of the boxes.
What is in your child’s toothpaste?
Most commonly, fluoride is added to toothpaste to remineralize tooth enamel, which is the case for a wide variety of toothpaste brands on store shelves. Another common toothpaste ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate. SLS is what gives toothpaste that foamy texture that makes you feel like it’s doing its job. If you’ve ever used an SLS-free baking soda-based toothpaste, you’ll recognize the difference.
According to studies, sodium lauryl sulfate, the detergent and surfactant that causes your toothpaste to foam up, can decrease the efficiency of fluoride. The foaming agent helps remove food debris from the teeth and slough it away. People with sensitive teeth and gums may prefer an SLS-free toothpaste. It has been known to cause inflammation and increased canker sores.
This is the case for Virginia Duan, a mom of four. “I use the DoTerra OnGuard toothpaste. It is the only one that doesn’t make my mouth break out in sores,” she told Mom.com
Dr. Kami Hoss warns against using a toothpaste that contains antibiotics or alcohol. “Some toothpaste and mouthwashes can indiscriminately kill the oral microbiome, disrupting the delicate balance. They may transform beneficial microbes into a pathogenic state or allow new, more opportunistic ones to take hold,” he explained to Mom.com.
What about whitening toothpaste?
If your older tween or teen has expressed an interest in whitening toothpastes or tooth whitening trays, the general consensus is that they are safe to use.
The National Institutes of Health defines whitening toothpastes as those that contain bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide and silica. These abrasives remove stains to lighten tooth color and may cause temporary gum irritation. For children younger than 14 who may be interested in cosmetically lightening their teeth, baking soda toothpaste may be a more natural toothpaste alternative.
Choose the best kids’ toothpaste
Choosing a child-friendly toothpaste may seem trivial, but to many families, there are myriad factors to consider. I’m fairly vigilant in researching the products I purchase for my youngest child. With research that supports the potential adverse neurological effects of fluoride in drinking water, I choose to go fluoride-free when it comes to dental care so as not to overload his system.
Similarly, for parents whose children have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, a gluten-free toothpaste is the safest toothpaste choice. There are even traces of milk protein in some types of toothpaste, which can be fatal to those with dairy allergies. As such, anything your child consumes or goes in and around his mouth should be researched carefully. Choosing a safe toothpaste is a decision dependent upon personal experiences, preferences, and of course health concerns.
Dr. Hoss cautions parents from just choosing a random over-the-counter toothpaste and mouthwash. “You should always consult with your dentist to use oral care products that have been customized just for you and your children,” he told Mom.com.
Combat your kids’ cavities
There are other things you can do to keep your children’s teeth free from cavities. An effective cavity-fighting solution, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the application of dental sealants for children between the ages 6 and 11. A thin sealant layer is painted on the surface of the tooth. This prevents decay from forming caries deep in the tooth crevices.
How to prevent cavities
Following these general guidelines also helps prevent cavities and promote good dental habits.
• Dental care should start early. Use a training toothpaste and a soft bristle toothbrush to care for your toddler’s teeth.
• For younger infants and babies, wipe a damp cloth over their gums after meals to clear away bacteria.
• After your child eats fruit snacks or takes gummy vitamins, have them brush. Gummy foods are notorious for causing tooth decay.
• Refrain from offering sugary juice in a bottle.
• Keep regular dental visits to allow your child’s dentist to monitor for potential problems before they become bigger issues.
Read the original article posted on Mom.com