Looking for the best toothpaste for kids and babies in the US? 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
- Your options for organic and natural toothpaste for kids
Getting your children's oral health 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 to tooth decay, which you might also find useful.
If you're short on time, you can see our top picks in the table below:
Table of contents
Fluoride-free toothpaste for kids
In this article, we'll look at both fluoride and fluoride-free options. You should know that it is now recommended that kids' toothpaste contain fluoride. However, if you are intent on using a toothpaste without fluoride, then our top pick is Dr. Brite.
This natural oral health brand has three kinds of toothpaste for kids:
- Anti-Plaque Toothpaste with a berry flavor
- Mineral Toothpaste with a strawberry flavor
- Healthy Gums Toothpaste with chocolate mint flavor
Instead of fluoride, these toothpastes have hydroxyapatite, a mineral that makes up 97% of tooth enamel, and that works to strengthen teeth and protect them.
Best kids' toothpaste
Frost Oral Care toothpaste
Frost Oral Care makes two toothpastes for kids — one with fluoride and one without.
The fluoride toothpaste tastes like watermelon, and the fluoride-free toothpaste takes like birthday cake.
Both toothpaste options contain the following ingredients to benefit your child's oral health:
- Lavender oil: Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic
- Hydroxyapatite: Reduces sensitivity and can help remineralize enamel
- Hawthorne berry: Contains antioxidants that may help with gum health
- Goji berry: Contains myriad minerals and nutrients that may help fight gingivitis
Frost toothpaste is also vegan, cruelty-free, sugar-free and sulfate-free.
Check out the complete Frost oral care line to buy this toothpaste and more.
Colgate kids' toothpaste
Colgate Kids Cavity Protection Toothpaste is a fluoride toothpaste for kids that has a fruity, bubblegum 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.
Crest kids' toothpaste
Another fluoride kids toothpaste without a minty flavor is this Crest Kids Toothpaste. It tastes of strawberries, making it a popular choice among kids – as well as parents who want a toothpaste that will help prevent cavities in their children.
The packaging isn't so child-friendly, but would suit older children who have grown out of wanting cartoons on everything.
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.
ACT kids' bubblegum toothpaste
ACT makes a kids' fluoride toothpaste with a yummy bubblegum flavor. Like all fluoride toothpaste, it is designed to prevent cavities and fight plaque buildup. And thanks to the bubblegum taste, kids will look forward to brushing.
The tube is easy to squeeze for kids' small hands and the flat-top cap makes it easy to stand on its head. You can get the toothpaste along with a matching mouthwash.
Best baby toothpaste
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 baby toothpaste with fluoride.
We've listed some of our recommendations for baby toothpastes below, and while you're searching you should consider the following criteria:
- Use of toothpaste, including fluoride toothpaste, is advised once the first tooth erupts, which can be as early as 4 months but is usually around 6 months old.
- A smear layer similar to the size of a grain of rice is advised for fluoridated toothpaste.
- No matter what toothpaste is used, caregivers are advised to use a small damp cloth to wipe excess off after brushing.
Radius 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.
This natural baby 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.
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 case for fluoride in kids' toothpaste
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.
Amount to use
Children under 3
A smear (size of a grain of rice)
A pea-sized amount
Children over 6 and adults
A pea-sized amount
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.
If you are concerned about fluoride therapy for children, you can read the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's latest recommendations here, including reccommending the use of fluoridated toothpaste in children (a smear for children under three and a pea-sized amount in children three to six).
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. That means 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. You can see some options for fluoride-free baby toothpaste in our recommendations above.
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.
The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is usually regulated by country. On average, the amount of fluoride in children's toothpaste ranges from 100 ppm to 1,400 ppm, and in adults' toothpaste it's from 1,000 ppm to 1,500 ppm.
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.
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.
Don't forget to take care of your grownup teeth either—good oral hygiene is critical at any age. Have a look at our article for the best toothpaste for adults for natural, fluoride and whitening options to fit your needs. And you can read about the best fluoride-free toothpaste if that interests you too.
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. Brushing gums and teeth for two minutes is advised.
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.
Once your child is able to spit out their toothpaste, limited rinsing is recommended to prevent diluting the protective benefits of the toothpaste.
What is the best toothpaste for 2-year-olds?
All toothpastes for young children will have gentle ingredients and a gentle flavor. Some good options include Dr. Brite's line of natural toothpastes for toddlers and babies. Weleda also makes a fluoride-free toothpaste for babies, and Radius makes some of the best organic baby toothpaste.
Even though none of these kids' natural toothpaste options contain fluoride, many dentists don't recommend baby toothpaste without fluoride, because fluoride is so good for your teeth.
As long as you only use only a tiny, rice-sized amount when brushing your child's teeth, it should be OK. But, there aren't many baby toothpastes available with fluoride, so you'd have to have a look at toothpaste for kids a bit older.
NHS: Fluoride. Consulted 28th November 2019.
ADA: Oral Health Topics: Toothpaste. Consulted 28th November 2019.
NCBI: Fluoride toothpaste efficacy and safety in children younger than 6 years: a systematic review. Consulted 28th November 2019.
ScienceDirect: Sodium Fluoride. Consulted 28th November 2019.
AAPD.org: Fluoride Therapy. Consulted 19th November 2022.