Whether you were a kid, have a kid, or both, one thing is certain: Most children HATE brushing their teeth. Even the best behaved among them often lie about doing it, brush as long as the average sneeze, or kick, scream, and whine when the clock strikes brush o’clock.
Sure, laziness is a factor. But more significantly, the “yuck” factor has also played a significant role. That is, until now, when yummy flavors and cartoon characters populate store shelves.
But with all this deliciousness now at the ready, a mindful parent has to ask: Exactly what makes these new ones taste so good? Is, say, a bubble-gum-flavored toothpaste truly as effective as a traditional, dare-I-say, minty option? And, by going this route, might I be doing more harm than good?
Here are six guidelines to help:
- Talk to your child’s dentist or hygienist about his or her recommendations on toothpastes for kids. Nothing is perfect for everyone, so he/she will point you in the best direction.
- Look for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance on the label, which means the product has been tested both for effectiveness and proper ingredients.
- If your child suffers from canker sores, avoid products containing SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), which might aggravate existing sores or encourage new ones.
- For a child older than toddler-age, look for a toothpaste with fluoride, which markedly reduces the rate of tooth decay (fluoridated water is not enough…swallowing toothpastes with fluoride can be harmful to very young children).
- Choose a mild abrasive formula.
- Encourage children to use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and buy them a soft brush.
Wondering which specific brands to choose from? Though there are many good ones, you may want to consider:
- Try Tom’s of Maine’s Natural Children’s Toothpaste in Outrageous Orange-Mango for an all-natural toothpaste with fruit juice for flavor.
- For kids over 5, try Colgate’s Kids 2-in-1 Toothpaste & Mouthwash in Watermelon or Strawberry.
- Natural Dentist’s Cavity Zapper in Berry Blast is especially soothing for children with braces.
- Organic Mild Fennel’s Children’s Toothpaste (available online from Denmark) is organic and tasty, and has particularly easy-to-handle packaging.
Getting children to brush can be less of a challenge if you tempt them with some good-tasting toothpaste options. And, remember, too, that twice per day, between 2 and 3 minutes a session, must also be part of their routine.
Healthy teeth = healthy children. We care. Any questions, any time, call us or tweet us @dentalplanscom all month for your questions regarding your child’s dental care.
What type of toothpaste do you buy for your children? Is there a specific ingredient or seal of approval you look for? Let us know in your comments below!