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Even before little ones sprout their first tooth, it’s a good idea for parents to start a brushing routine to get their baby into the habit of good oral hygiene. There are several brushes that help soothe babies who are teething and don’t require the use of toothpaste. Using a damp washcloth and gently stroking the gums helps to remove bacteria. But once the first tiny tooth makes its way through the gums, it’s time to start brushing for real.
Adult toothpaste should not be used for little ones since whitening and cavity-fighting ingredients can be harmful to a child. There are several types of baby and toddler-friendly toothpaste available and picking the correct one depends largely on your child’s age and abilities.
Children typically develop the ability to spit between the ages of two and three. Some parents don’t feel comfortable using toothpaste with fluoride before their child can spit, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated their recommendations to include toothpaste with fluoride for toddlers as long as only a grain-sized amount is used. Having the child lean over the sink while their teeth are being brushed helps the toothpaste dribble out of the mouth if spitting is still difficult. Once children can successfully spit, this should be increased to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Like adults, children should have their teeth brushed twice per day for two minutes at a time. Brushing time can be a battle, but there are several toothbrushes for kids that help to make brushing time fun. We found that letting our child brush her teeth first and then giving mom or dad a turn has also helped to end the daily wars. Finding toothbrush colors and toothpaste flavors that your child likes also helps, as does singing during brushing time.
For more suggestions on exactly which baby toothpaste is best for your growing family, check out our top picks below.
1. Orajel Elmo FluorideFree Training Toothpaste
For a baby toothpaste that kids can use from babyhood to toddlerhood and beyond, there’s the Orajel Elmo FluorideFree Training Toothpaste. Safe for babies as young as three months and appropriate for kids as old as four years, the gentle toothpaste is fluoride-free and can safely be swallowed. Designed as a non-abrasive way to remove plaque, the baby-safe toothpaste is free from common allergens and additives, including gluten, sugar, dairy, paraben, and dyes. Orajel sells their toothpaste in several fun flavors babies and kids will like and the company has partnered with several character companies, including Sesame Street and Paw Patrol.
2. Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Toddler Training Toothpaste
SAFE FOR 3-MONTH-OLDS
Toddlers who are still learning how to brush their teeth will do well with a fluoride-free toothpaste that is designed with a gentle gel formula. Safe for babies ages three months up to two-year-old toddlers, the training toothpaste from Tom’s comes in a mild fruit flavor that can safely be swallowed. Designed to clean both gums and teeth, the training baby toothpaste is made without the use of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and colors.
3. Tom’s of Maine Natural Children’s Fluoride-Free Toothpaste
FOR BIGGER KIDS
For older kids, Tom’s makes both fluoride and fluoride-free toothpaste for toddlers and kids and both are filled with natural ingredients. The toothpaste contains calcium and silica, which together gently clean teeth and help to seal any exposed pathways to nerves. Kids will enjoy the Silly Strawberry flavor, while parents will appreciate that the toothpaste is made without dyes, artificial preservatives and isn’t tested on animals.
4. Jack N’ Jill Natural Kids Toothpaste
BEST ORGANIC TOOTHPASTE
If keeping everything going in or near your child as organic as possible is important to you, add Jack N’ Jill Natural Kids Toothpaste to your medicine cabinet. The all-natural, hypoallergenic baby toothpaste uses Xylitol and Calendula to help prevent cavities, protect teeth and soothe gums. Gluten-, fluoride-, SLS- (which can cause canker sores) and cruelty-free, the vegan toothpaste is packaged in a BPA-free tube. Available in banana, blueberry, strawberry or raspberry flavors, Jack N’ Jill is safe if swallowed, making it a great option for babies and toddlers.
5. Dr. Brown’s Infant-to-Toddler Toothbrush, Giraffe & Strawberry Toothpaste Set
Take the guesswork out of finding the right toothbrush and baby toothpaste for your little one with the Dr. Brown’s Infant-to-Toddler Toothbrush, Giraffe & Strawberry Toothpaste Set. Kids will love the giraffe design of the Dr. Brown’s toothbrush, which features super soft bristles that are gentle on their teeth and gums and a wide handle that is easy for little ones to grab. Safe for babies and toddlers up to age three, the natural strawberry-flavored toothpaste included in the set is fluoride-free and made without artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, and is safe if swallowed.
Dr. Brown's Infant-to-Toddler Toothbrush, Giraffe & Strawberry Toothpaste Set
6. Crest & Oral-B Baby Toothbrush and Toothpaste Training Kit
Another great training set for babies and toddlers is the Crest & Oral-B Baby Toothbrush and Toothpaste Training Kit. For little ones who don’t like the traditional paste texture of toothpaste, Crest offers a gel formula that may be more their speed. The mild strawberry toothpaste is fluoride-free and can be swallowed, making it safe for babies and toddlers up to age three. Free from artificial flavors, sweeteners, dyes, and SLS, the toothpaste can be paired with the manual toothbrush included that features gentle bristles.
7. hello Kids Unicorn Sparkle Fluoride Toothpaste
In a perfect world, toddlers would run to the bathroom every morning and night filled with excitement to brush their teeth. But the world isn’t perfect and sometimes parents need a little help convincing their kids to brush. Hello makes several kid-friendly kinds of toothpaste and we especially like the fun designs of their Dragon Dazzle and Unicorn Sparkle options. Made without artificial sweeteners, dyes, SLS, or sulfates, the fluoride toothpaste is safe for kids ages two and up and has a delicious bubblegum flavor little ones will love. The naturally sparkly toothpaste helps to polish teeth and prevent cavities and plaque buildup.
8. Rain Natural Baby Kids Fluoride Free Toothpaste Gel
WIDE AGE RANGE
If you have multiple kids sharing a bathroom and don’t want to buy multiple types of toothpaste, Rain Natural Baby Kids Fluoride Free Toothpaste Gel may be your best bet. The natural baby toothpaste is safe for kids as young as six months all the way up to big kids as old as six years. The fluoride-free toothpaste is safe to swallow and enriched with vitamin C and Alpine Rose Leaf Extract to help remove and prevent plaque, gingivitis, and tartar buildup. The smooth gel formula isn’t grainy or chalky, which makes this toothpaste ideal for pairing with a traditional toothbrush or brushing on with a finger for babies. The gentle watermelon flavor will likely be a hit with both babies and big kids.