Children's Dentistry |6 min read

What Kind of Toothpaste Should Kids Use?

Someone holding a rainbow toothbrush with kid's toothpaste

Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease.

42%… This text opens a new tab to the research… of children aged 2 to 11 have had dental caries (cavities) in their primary teeth.

This, along with other dental-related problems, causes children in the U.S. to miss approximately 51 million… This text opens a new tab to the research… school hours every year.

The good news is:

You can help your child prevent cavities!

How, exactly?

Well, there are a few ways, such as:

  • Helping your child brush their teeth twice per day for 2 minutes
  • Helping your child floss their teeth
  • Taking your child to a pediatric dentist once every six months for preventative care

Today, we’re going to discuss which kind of toothpaste your kid should use!

Toothpaste is a crucial component of tooth decay prevention.

Here’s what to look for in your child’s toothpaste…

The ADA Seal of Acceptance

Look for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance… This text opens a new tab to the ADA website… when buying any dental or oral care products.

The seal will be easily viewable on the box. The ADA’s stringent testing procedures help ensure that you’re buying a useful product that actually works.


For more than half a century, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities.

Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth and remineralizing the enamel to fight harmful bacteria.

Just make sure that your child spits all of it out and rinses their mouth thoroughly after brushing.

Ingesting excessive fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis. For this reason, a non-fluoridated toothpaste may be chosen before age 2.

No abrasives

Mild abrasives remove debris and residual surface stains from teeth.


Abrasives can also remove tooth enamel, leaving teeth more susceptible to decay.

Avoid whitening toothpaste for your children that contain abrasives like calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, and silicates.

Enjoyable flavors

Your goal is to get your child to brush twice per day for two minutes each time.

A lot of children find mint or other traditionally flavored toothpaste too “spicy” for them. You can find flavors that aren’t too harsh on their sensitive palates.

Children’s toothpaste often comes in fun flavors like berry and bubblegum and sometimes features some of their favorite cartoon characters or superheroes on the container.

Your kid doesn’t have teeth yet? Do this instead

Just because your infant or toddler doesn’t have teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean their mouth.

You can clean their gums with a clean, damp cloth by gently running away residual food.

By doing this, you are actually improving the health of the baby teeth that will soon erupt and familiarizing them with oral care early in their life.

So, what’s the best children’s toothpaste?

Truthfully, there so many great options, it’s hard to pinpoint just one.

So here’s our two cents:

The best kid’s toothpaste is one that gets your kid to brush twice per day for 2 minutes.

Along with that, it should ideally:

  • Have the ADA Seal of Acceptance
  • Contain fluoride
  • Have no abrasives
  • Taste enjoyable to them

If your kid complains about sensitive or painful teeth, then contact your pediatric dentist for an exam. It’s often a sign something is wrong.

Now, we understanding brushing your teeth isn’t exactly fun, especially for children.


At least our toothpaste tastes don’t taste like bones or chalk!?! 😲

Share this next section with your kid.

I’ll certainly make them appreciate their fruity-flavored toothpaste!

Ancient toothpaste ingredients

Our ancestors tried all sorts of methods to clean their teeth.

Take a look at some of the crazy ingredients they used!

Rock salt and dried iris flowers

The ancient Egyptians (particularly the pharaohs and wealthy) valued cleanliness and oral health and were the first culture to experimenting with toothpaste.

Their version of toothpaste consisted of rock salt, dried iris flowers, pepper, and mint crushed into a fine paste with a bit of water.

Some mixtures even included the ashes of ox hooves and burnt eggshells! This mixture led to bleeding gums, but it was surprisingly effective at cleaning teeth, even when compared to what was used just 100 years ago.

Bones and oyster shells

Around the same time as the Egyptians, Greek and Roman leaders were using the Egyptian mixture but began experimenting with their own toothpaste.

They added more abrasives to their mixture to increase the cleaning power, the most popular of which were crushed bones and oyster shells.

The Romans added charcoal to help freshen their breath too.

Around 500 BC, ancient China and India used a similar mixture but added more flavoring ingredients like ginseng, herbal mints, and salts.


The ancient power cultures had pretty much perfected their form of toothpaste, and it remained popular and used by many upper-class people for a long time.

And then, toast was introduced.

Used toast was ground into a fine powder and used to scrub teeth. While there is no clear origin of using toast as toothpaste, it was a very affordable option for a lot of people.


In 1824, a dentist named Dr. Peabody decided to add soap to the ground-up toast mixture to enhance the cleaning power.

A few decades passed, and then toothpaste makers began adding chalk to their mixtures to create the creamy consistency that we’re familiar with today.

Edible toothpaste

To help keep astronauts’ (yes, astronauts) teeth clean while in space, NASA invented an edible toothpaste that could be swallowed after brushing. Edible toothpaste was then repurposed for young children to use because it did not present a risk if it was ingested.

Toothpaste today

We’ve come a long way from crushed oysters and ginseng mixtures. Now, there are countless types of toothpaste with ranging features like delicious flavoring, minimizing sensitivity, whitening power, etc.

Most importantly:

Today’s toothpaste is highly effective in preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health diseases.

Want to learn more dental facts and tips?

View More Blogs

Need a pediatric dentist in Terre Haute, IN?

Contact Dentistry Just for Kids!

Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Steven Pilipovich, has more than 30 years of experience. He and his team love helping children grow up viewing the dentist in a positive light and establish healthy habits that’ll carry into adulthood.

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Dentistry Just for Kids is located in Terre Haute, IN and serves patients from across the Wabash Valley, including Terre Haute, Clinton, Rockville, Covington, Brazil, Greencastle, Sullivan, Linton, Shakamak, Vincennes, Marshall, Paris, Robinson, Olney, Effingham, Charleston, Casey, Mattoon, Greenup, Flora, and Newton.

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