Basics of Brushing for Kids: What Toothpaste Is Right for Your Toddler?

Should your toddler brush with a fluoride toothpaste? The guidelines for healthy brushing for kids change with age. Depending on your toddler, you may or may not want to use a fluoride toothpaste. Find out when is the best time to start using one to protect your child's teeth.

Fluoride or Fluoride-Free?

Fluoride is important for healthy teeth. This mineral, along with calcium and phosphate, helps to remineralize teeth and prevent tooth decay. When children ingest small amounts from water or food it enters the bloodstream and can be used to help strengthen developing teeth. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste or getting a fluoride treatment at the dentist's office are other ways to use this mineral to protect teeth from cavities.

While small amounts are beneficial, ingesting too much in childhood may contribute to the development of white or brown spots on teeth, a condition known as fluorosis. Until your toddler is old enough to spit out his toothpaste, your dentist may recommend a fluoride-free toothpaste like My First Colgate. Once your child has mastered the art of spitting after brushing, you may be able to start using a fluoride toothpaste for kids.

Toddler Brushing

By knowing the basics of brushing for kids of every age, you can take excellent care of your child's mouth and set him up for healthy smile success. Talk to your dentist about when to switch to a product that contains fluoride. Brush your toddler's teeth twice a day with toothpaste that has been approved by the American Dental Association. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean every surface of teeth, the gumline and the tongue.

Not all young kids are patient enough to let you brush their teeth for a full two minutes. Try to make brushing time fun and exciting with songs or a silly game. Use a colorful toothbrush that was designed for developing teeth and fun-loving toddlers. Brush your teeth first to show your child how you take care of your own mouth.

Take your little one in for regular dental check-ups and don't forget to talk to your dentist about fluoride recommendations. If your dentist doesn't feel that your child is getting enough exposure to this mineral from fluorinated water and oral care products, he or she may suggest fluoride supplements.

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