It may seem like a no brainer to make sure that your children brush their teeth every day, twice a day. However, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease. In fact, more than 16 million children suffer from tooth decay every year. With this staggeringly high number, you may want to spend a few extra moments checking to make sure your child is brushing their teeth properly, before tucking them into bed tonight. Brushing their teeth alone isn’t enough, though. Picking the right toothpaste will help them get the job done right.
Fluoride is a popular toothpaste ingredient. The ADA recommends a small amount of fluoride in toothpaste, to help strengthen teeth and fight against cavities and decay. Ingesting excessive amounts of fluoride can cause fluorosis, so make sure that your child is spitting all of the toothpaste out and rinsing their mouth thoroughly. If you’re worried that your child is swallowing their toothpaste, or they’re still very young, we recommend waiting to introduce a fluoride toothpaste until they are able to spit it out properly.
Pick a good flavor
While we adults enjoy toothpastes with a minty flavor, the same flavors don’t usually appeal to our children. Take your child with you to the store and let them pick out a fun flavor that they’ll enjoy, to help motivate them to brush their teeth. Some fun flavors they’ll be able to pick from include things such as berry and bubble gum. The goal is to have your child brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. So make sure that they pick a toothpaste flavor that they’ll love and tolerate long enough to brush their teeth that long!
Avoid abrasive toothpastes
Some toothpastes contain mild abrasive substances, such as calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gel, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonates, and silicates. These abrasive ingredients can help remove stains, but they can also remove the enamel on teeth. Your child’s teeth aren’t as strong as yours, and their enamel is considerably weaker. For your child, avoid whitening toothpaste and any toothpaste that contains this sort of abrasive ingredients, to protect their enamel and the integrity of their teeth.
Twice a day
We mentioned earlier that it’s important to have your children brushing their teeth twice a day, for about two minutes each time. When they’re still very young, we recommend that you brush their teeth for them. As they gain independence and demand to brush their own teeth, it’s fine to let them. Just make sure that you check their teeth after and help them time their teeth brushing to make sure they’re brushing for long enough!