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Choosing the best toothpaste for children

Choosing the best toothpaste for children can be overwhelming with so many choices available. Other than asking your pediatric dentist for toothpaste suggestions, toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance has been tested for its effectiveness and proper ingredients. When choosing a toothpaste for children one should consider avoiding harmful ingredients. Choose a mild abrasive, avoid choosing toothpaste which contains SLS (read below Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), use a small, pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste and encourage your child not to swallow the fluoridated toothpaste, and don’t force a flavor your child doesn’t like. Also, be sure to buy a soft-bristled toothbrush, encourage good eating habit and do regular pediatric dental visits.

toothpast tubeWhy should we use toothpaste?

Our mouths are home to thousands of species of bacteria. These bacteria colonize and form a film on our teeth, known as plaque. Plaque buildup can lead to a multitude of oral health problems including tooth decay, halitosis (bad breath), and gingivitis (inflammation of your gums). By simply brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing an oral disease.

Evolution of toothpaste

Early toothpaste consisted of components such as ground iris flowers, sand, pulverized oyster shells or even brick! In the 1800s tooth powders made of baking soda and salt replaced the harsh homemade concoctions of earlier years. Today we have everything from all-natural toothpaste for sensitive teeth to whitening toothpaste and bubblegum flavored varieties for children.

What exactly is toothpaste?

Toothpaste is an oral hygiene product that contains gentle abrasives, antibacterial agents, and most importantly fluoride.  The gentle abrasives found in toothpaste help remove surface stains by gently polishing them away with the aid of a toothbrush. Antibacterial agents, such as triclosan, aid in reducing the bacterial levels in the mouth, thus preventing halitosis. Fluoride aids in strengthening the enamel of teeth.

Why is fluoride so important?

Fluoride has been added to toothpaste since the late 1800s and has significantly reduced the rate of tooth decay over the years.  Fluoride strengthens teeth by remineralizing the enamel found on the surface of teeth.  Though most public water supplies are fluoridated, the water does not adequately provide protection against cavities, therefore, the need for fluoridated toothpaste still exists.

Some kinds of toothpaste with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate may cause the recurrence of canker sores

Many parents avoid choosing toothpaste which contains SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). This ingredient may cause the recurrence of aphthous ulcers, commonly referred to as canker sores. SLS is a surfactant that makes things foam and a major ingredient in most popular toothpaste sold in the grocery store.  Crest, Colgate, AquaFresh, and Pepsodent contain SLS; Sensodyne is a major brand that doesn’t.  Here is a list of some toothpaste that do not contain SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate):

  • Natural Toothpaste Kids Fluoride
  • Tom’s of Maine Natural Fluoride-Free Toothpaste for Children
  • Silly Strawberry Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste
  • REMBRANDT GENTLE WHITE Toothpaste (formerly Canker Sore)
  • Biotene Dry Mouth Toothpaste Fresh Mint Original Flavor
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