There are so many baby and kids’ toothpaste options, where do you even start? And when you do start to look at toothpaste for children of different ages, things don’t get any easier. Here, we’ll give you the information you need to choose the best toothpaste for kids and babies in the US, plus we have some product recommendations.
With lots of things you want to get right, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll cover:
- What makes the best children’s toothpaste
- The difference between baby toothpaste and adult toothpaste
- Whether you should use fluoride-free toothpaste for babies
- The best toothpastes for kids and babies of all ages
Getting your kids’ dental routine right from the start is important for their overall oral hygiene. We have another article about choosing the best toothbrush for your child and a detailed guide on how to prevent tooth decay, which you might also find useful. But for now, let’s look at kids’ toothpaste!
Table of contents
- 1 How to choose the best toothpaste for children: with or without fluoride?
- 2 Is the best toothpaste for kids different than adult toothpaste?
- 3 What are the best baby toothpastes (0-2 years)?
- 4 What’s the best toothpaste for kids aged 3-6?
- 5 The best kids’ toothpaste for ages 7 and up
- 6 Can I Get a Kids’ Toothpaste Dispenser?
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 FAQs
How to choose the best toothpaste for children: with or without fluoride?
There are a few different things to consider when buying toothpaste for babies and kids. One of the most important questions you might have is whether you should use a fluoride-free toothpaste for kids.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that is present in water, soil, and the air. It has many benefits for your teeth, such as:
- Preventing cavities
- Strengthening tooth enamel
- Reversing early stages of tooth decay
- Limiting plaque bacteria in the mouth
- Slowing mineral loss in tooth enamel
Of course, your baby will probably end up swallowing a lot of the toothpaste in their mouth. To ensure that they don’t swallow a harmful amount, the ADA recommends using a smear of fluoride toothpaste for your baby; no larger than a grain of rice for children under three years of age. Have a look at the table below for a summary of recommended toothpaste amounts based on age.
As well as being recommended by the ADA, these amounts have been proven safe by a scientific study that looked at the data from lots of other studies.
That said, children swallowing toothpaste with fluoride should be avoided. While occasionally swallowing a small amount while brushing teeth is unlikely to cause any harm, regularly consuming high volumes of fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis, where the teeth develop white spots or become discolored.
Supervise brushing until your child is old enough to be able to brush all their teeth correctly and spit out all the toothpaste—usually around age 6 or 7.
If children ingest a larger amount of fluoride toothpaste, for example if they deliberately eat it from the tube, they might experience an upset stomach. Speak to your doctor or call 911 if you think it’s an emergency.
What about baby toothpaste with fluoride?
It’s natural to be concerned about your young baby swallowing baby toothpaste, whether it contains fluoride or not. Most children develop their spit reflex around the age of three years old, so your baby won’t be able to brush their teeth like you quite yet.
Minimize the risk by only using a smear of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, when you first start brushing your baby’s teeth. Parents who are really concerned about controlling how much fluoride their child swallows can opt for fluoride-free toothpaste. We’ll give you some options for fluoride-free baby toothpaste further down.
The video below has some good advice for brushing your baby or toddler’s teeth—straight from the dentist’s mouth!
Is the best toothpaste for kids different than adult toothpaste?
One of the key differences between toothpaste for kids and adults is the fluoride content. Aside from that, adult toothpaste might also be more abrasive and have stronger flavors.
Lots of adults use whitening toothpastes, however using whitening toothpaste for kids isn’t a good idea. These types of toothpaste are rougher on the teeth and could damage children’s teeth because their enamel is thinner.
If your child has stained teeth, assess their diet for strongly colored foods and speak with their dentist if you’re concerned. Any whitening treatments should only be carried out once your child has a full mouth of adult teeth.
What are the best baby toothpastes (0-2 years)?
As soon as your little one’s first teeth appear, it’s important to brush them twice a day to protect against decay. However, it can be hard to know which is the best baby toothpaste. The ADA now recommends that you use fluoride toothpaste with your baby as well as older children, (albeit a very small amount). Even so, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a baby toothpaste with fluoride. For parents choosing to use fluoride toothpaste with their babies, the best toothpaste for their baby will most likely be a children’s fluoride toothpaste.
If you are interested in a baby toothpaste, there are certain things to look for in a toothpaste for babies under 2 years, and below we’ve picked out some of the best baby toothpaste options to make that choice easier for you.
Natural baby toothpaste
Radius makes an organic baby toothpaste without fluoride. Their formulation is non-toxic so there shouldn’t be any concerns if your baby has a habit of swallowing while you help them brush their teeth. Plus, the coconut-banana flavor in this organic baby toothpaste is great for little ones who don’t like mint.
One happy parent commented in her Amazon review:
“I will use only this toothpaste for my son! Clean and amazing ingredients! “
This toothpaste is suitable for babies and children of all ages so there’s no need to switch once they reach 3 years old.
Tom’s baby toothpaste
Tom’s baby toothpaste is fluoride-free and specially formulated for babies and toddlers 3 to 24 months old, and is safe if swallowed. It has a no-mess top and a delightful mild fruit flavor. Your children can practice brushing with this toothpaste so they can develop long-lasting oral hygiene habits.
Colgate baby toothpaste
As part of their Smiles range, Colgate has their My First Baby 0-2 Years toothpaste. This has no fluoride and a mild bubblegum and fruit flavor for your baby’s sensitive mouth.
Weleda baby toothpaste
Weleda is a Swiss company that makes plant-based health and wellbeing products. Their fluoride-free toothpaste for babies and kids has a natural fresh flavor and all non-toxic ingredients, so it shouldn’t be anything to worry about if your baby swallows it.
The packaging may not be particularly child-friendly, but plenty of people say this is their favorite natural kids’ toothpaste.
Spry kids’ toothpaste
This toothpaste is for ages 3 months and up and is safe to be swallowed, although the sooner your kids practice spitting the better, right?
It’s also fluoride-free (hence the safe to swallow), made with all-natural ingredients and has a delightful bubblegum flavor that kids young and old seem to love.
It’s also sweetened with xylitol, an ingredient that is said to create a balanced pH level in the mouth and to strengthen enamel.
One happy parent says:
“I’ve seen a difference in my children’s teeth since using this. They like the taste and it keeps their teeth clean. Neither of them have mastered how to spit yet so I’m thankful it’s safe to swallow a little and will not harm them.”
Orajel baby toothpaste
As you may know, Orajel is famous for oral pain-relief, but they also make a baby Orajel toothpaste. This toothpaste is fluoride-free and has a yummy fruity flavor and Elmo on the tube. This Orajel baby toothpaste pack comes with a baby toothbrush and toothpaste so you can brush your baby’s teeth in the early stages.
Earth’s Best Baby toothpaste
If you love all things wholesome, then you may want to consider Earth’s Best toothpaste for babies from six months to three years old. This natural fluoride-free children’s toothpaste is sweetened with xylitol, contains oat bran and is safe if swallowed. It also has a gentle strawberry-banana flavor and a lovely vignette of a child watering flowers on the tube.
What’s the best toothpaste for kids aged 3-6?
As your child gets older, they should be able to spit better and the chances of them swallowing toothpaste will reduce. You’ll also want to consider switching from a fluoride-free toothpaste for kids to one that contains fluoride. However, at this age, you should still supervise them as they brush and help them learn how to brush thoroughly.
They might not like the minty flavors you’re used to with your toothpaste, so we’ve included some non-mint children’s toothpaste options here too.
Colgate kids’ toothpaste
Colgate Kids Cavity Protection Toothpaste is a fluoride toothpaste for kids that has a fruity, bubble gum flavor—great for kids who aren’t into minty tastes.
A more premium Colgate children’s toothpaste with fluoride is their liquid gel toothpastes. These kids’ fluoride toothpastes contain .24% (1100 ppm) fluoride to protect against cavities. The strawberry and watermelon flavors with bright and funky packaging should also help make brushing fun.
Aquafresh kids’ toothpaste
Aquafresh kids’ pump toothpaste has .15% fluoride ion and comes in a stand-up pump tube that makes it easy for your kids to use. The red, white and blue stripes add a fun touch to brushing. It’s aimed at children aged 2 and up and has a bubble mint flavor for the best of two worlds.
It gets high praise from this reviewer:
“My kids like it, and I like that the flavor is “bubble mint” so it’s not TOO minty, but they have fresher breath than if it was just “fruity fun” flavored. I’m glad we bought the 6 pack. Great deal!”
Tom’s kids’ toothpaste
Tom’s of Maine makes a natural toothpaste for kids. It has .13% w/v fluoride to protect your child’s teeth from cavities. This Tom’s children’s toothpaste is also ADA approved, has a fruity strawberry flavor and contains no artificial colors or flavors.
Crest kids’ toothpaste
Yet more non-mint children’s toothpaste with fluoride options are available, with this Crest kid’s cavity protection toothpaste that tastes like bubble gum, and is meant for children 2 and up.
This kids’ crest toothpaste has .24% fluoride (1118 ppm) but with none of the spicy fluoride taste.
Hello kids’ toothpaste
If you are more interested in a fluoride-free toothpaste for kids, you may want to take a look at Hello kids’ fluoride-free toothpaste. It has a natural watermelon flavor and removes plaque while soothing with aloe vera and polishing with gentle silica. The packaging is made from 100% recycled paperboard printed with soy inks for an extra eco bonus.
Coral kids’ toothpaste
For the socially-conscious consumer, who is also looking for a children’s toothpaste without fluoride, Coral White kids’ toothpaste may be just the ticket. This toothpaste is nothing short of innovative, as it actually uses coral calcium from coral, offering 74 natural minerals that promote an alkaline environment to kill bacteria, and strengthen your child’s teeth and body.
But wait! You’re probably wondering if the ocean is harmed when the coral is harvested.
Don’t worry! You’ll be happy to know that the makers of Coral White use above-sea fossilized coral beds to harvest their coral calcium.
What’s more, this toothpaste employs xylitol as a natural sweetener, which helps keep a neutral pH level in the mouth and repairs enamel.
This toothpaste also includes the herbal extracts of:
- American ginseng
- Golden Seal Root
These extracts have antibacterial properties that serve as a natural way to fight periodontal disease.
And it’s made in America! What more could you ask for? In fact, you may even start sharing this toothpaste with your children, as demonstrated by one reviewer:
“This toothpaste is awesome. Our whole family uses this brand now, and we have all had improvements to the whiteness of our teeth, sensitivity, and my husband swears a small cavity he had is healing.”
Just a little disclaimer though—if you think you have a cavity, you should go see your dentist.
Act kids’ toothpaste
The makers of your favorite mouthwash also make a fluoride toothpaste for kids. This toothpaste is formulated much like other popular kids’ toothpastes, but it has a scrumptious bubble gum flavor. Happy customers rave about this toothpaste, saying:
“Finally a fluoride toothpaste that our 5 year old son will use. He was stuck on the training toothpaste and would not switch to fluoride toothpaste until we found the ACT bubblegum blowout. Now he brushes his teeth twice a day!”
The best kids’ toothpaste for ages 7 and up
Once your child is seven years old, they should have developed full control over their reflex to swallow (as well as the motor skills to brush correctly) and at this point you should be able to leave them to brush their teeth on their own. And again, if you haven’t been using a fluoride toothpaste for kids, you may want to think about starting. While it is fine for them to use a pea-sized amount of adult toothpaste at this age, they may still prefer a more child-friendly option.
If you are a Sensodyne die-hard, you may want a pronamel toothpaste for kids too. Sensodyne toothpaste for kids protects against acid erosion and contains .32% (1450 ppm) fluoride. This Sensodyne children’s toothpaste has a gentle mint flavor that you might even find you prefer over harsher mint flavors of adult toothpastes.
If your child doesn’t like mint, the best kids’ toothpaste for them will be one without a mint flavor, so they don’t associate brushing with a taste they don’t like. For that reason, there are also fruity-flavored toothpastes available that will probably be more appealing than the standard packaging of grown-up toothpaste. For instance, this Crest Kids Toothpaste tastes like delicious strawberries, making it a popular choice among many children.
Children this age may still not be keen on the minty flavors in most adult toothpastes. A good option if this is the case is OraNurse Unflavoured Toothpaste. It has 1450 ppm of fluoride which is well within the guideline levels for children of this age, and there shouldn’t be any complaints about the taste.
Alternatively, if you are intent on an organic toothpaste for your kids, you may want to try this organic kids’ toothpaste by Radius. It tastes like dragon fruit and is made in the USA.
Another organic kids’ toothpaste option that is also advertised as being a remineralizing toothpaste for kids is Uncle Harry’s alkalizing children’s toothpaste. Although there is no age range specified for this toothpaste, you may want to try it out with older kids first, as some parents say that the flavor is quite strong.
Can I Get a Kids’ Toothpaste Dispenser?
Once you’ve got a brightly colored brush and a tasty kids’ flavored toothpaste, you should be well on your way to getting your children excited about their oral hygiene. To add the finishing touch, you can consider a kids’ toothpaste dispenser.
This toothpaste dispenser is really practical for your kids and the rest of the family. It has:
- Space for two different toothpastes—great if your kids like different flavors than you
- Four cups for water and gargling
- Storage for five brushes—plenty of space for all the family
One Amazon reviewer says:
“We love this product! This has freed up SO much room on my counter top! My 5 year old is easily able to get her toothbrush and put toothpaste on with no mess left behind unlike before when she had to hold the tube herself and apply the toothpaste!”
Every parent wants the best for their child’s teeth, and choosing the best children’s toothpaste for your little one is important. Although it’s perfectly understandable that you’ll want to investigate fluoride-free toothpaste for your kids, scientists and dentists agree that fluoride is beneficial to teeth and shouldn’t cause any harm if used correctly.
Make sure that you help your children use their toothpaste properly until they’re old enough to look after their teeth themselves. By choosing flavors that they like, you will keep them wanting to brush, and by picking the right fluoride levels you’ll make sure they protect themselves from cavities while waiting for their adult teeth to come through.
Can adults use kids’ toothpaste?
Many adults wonder if they can use kids’ toothpaste, usually because they are fed up with too much mint flavor. Well, whatever your reason, you can certainly use kids’ toothpaste. Just make sure that it has between 0.22% (1000 ppm) and 0.312% (1450 ppm) fluoride.
Can you buy fluoride toothpaste for babies?
You may be wondering if you can buy fluoride toothpaste for babies since the ADA recommends that you use a small amount (grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste with babies as soon as their teeth erupt. There currently really aren’t any toothpastes for babies under two years of age that contain fluoride on the market. So if you do want to use fluoride toothpaste for your baby, you can use a kids’ toothpaste, like this popular one from Colgate. Before using toothpaste with fluoride, you should consult your child’s doctor or dentist to make sure that it’s ok.
When should you start using toothpaste for your baby?
Many in the professional community are saying that you should start gently brushing your child’s gums with an extra-soft baby toothbrush before their first teeth erupt. And once their first baby teeth erupt, it’s a good idea to start using toothpaste. Whether you want to use fluoride toothpaste for your baby is up to you, although the ADA says that using a small, grain of rice-sized amount is a good idea.