When Can My Child Start Using Regular Toothpaste?

Just like us, children need thorough dental care to keep their teeth healthy. That means brushing two times a day, every day, and going to regular dentist visits for preventive care.

But, while more parents are aware of the importance of oral hygiene for their little ones, they are not always sure how to do it properly. For example, one common question we get asked often is: "Can I use regular toothpaste to brush my child's teeth?"

Here's what you need to know.

Can I Use Fluoride Toothpaste to Brush My Child's Teeth?

There's a lot of confusing information online about whether you can use fluoride toothpaste for children or not. Some dentists recommend avoiding it until the child is no longer swallowing the toothpaste and can spit it (around age six).

This belief is rooted in the recommendations the American Academy of Pediatrics made before 2014 when parents were advised to wait at least until the age of two before they could switch to fluoride toothpaste. Since then, the Academy has revised its guidelines and it's now advising parents to start using fluoride toothpaste since the first tooth emerges.

Of course, you shouldn't use your minty toothpaste but opt instead for a more child-friendly flavor, such as strawberries or melon. The amount of toothpaste you can use is also very important. Children under two can't spit, so you need to use just a small trace of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. You can gradually increase the amount as your child gets older and they are no longer swallowing the toothpaste, which usually happens around the age of three.

Learning How to Brush Your Child's Teeth Matters a Lot

While fluoride toothpaste can certainly influence your child's oral health, how well you can clean their teeth when brushing can make a huge difference too.

Ask any parent and they will tell you that brushing a toddler's teeth is no easy task. It's difficult for them to sit still for two minutes while you poke around with a stick in their mouth. But, brushing all surfaces of your child's teeth correctly can make the difference between a clean and healthy mouth and the development of cavities.

So, try to make this routine as fun and playful as you can:

  • Listen to a favorite song to ensure that you are brushing your teeth for two minutes.
  • Let them brush your teeth first and then brush theirs.
  • Let them choose their toothbrush and the flavor of toothpaste they prefer.
  • Teach by example and brush your teeth in front of your children.
  • Praise them for doing a good job when brushing or create a reward system, such as using stickers every time they brush their teeth correctly.

Are You Looking for a Compassionate Dentist for Your Child? Call Us!

If you are looking for a Rancho Santa Margarita pediatric dentist who knows how to turn a dentist visit into a fun and educational experience, then you should get in touch with our team at Willow Pediatric Dentistry.

Contact us now to book your appointment.

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