When is it safe for my child to use regular toothpaste?

safe children to use regular toothpaste

At All Kids Dental in Suffolk, VA we understand that every child is different. However, here are some general guidelines that can help you protect your child’s teeth. 

The Difference Between Adult And Children’s Toothpaste

Both can be used to effectively brush away plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. The main differences include the following: 

  • Fluoride levels: Fluoride is vital in helping to rebuild damaged tooth enamel and replenish lost minerals. Regular toothpaste has higher levels of fluoride than children. 

  • Different flavors: Children’s toothpaste comes in endless flavors to motivate children to brush their teeth. Infant toothpaste does not contain fluoride but is helpful in cleaning your teeth.

Does Too Much Fluoride Affect Your Child’s Oral Health?

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and protects your overall oral health. However, exposure to a high amount of fluoride can cause the following impact on your child’s teeth: 

  • Tooth discoloration

  • Tooth decay 

If you have any questions about what is the correct amount of fluoride to use for your child give us a call. 

Protecting Your Child’s Oral Health Since Birth

Even if your baby’s teeth have not broken through yet, you should clean your baby’s gums regularly, beginning just a few days after birth. To clean your infant’s gums, gently wipe the gums with a clean, damp washcloth, or infant toothbrush. If your child’s teeth are starting to erupt, consider refrigerating or freezing the damp washcloth for a few minutes. The cold temperature can soothe your baby’s sore gums.

Every baby tooth erupts somewhat differently so it can often be difficult for you to tell when your baby’s first tooth is starting to break through. Cleaning harmful bacteria from your baby’s mouth every day by wiping the gums can help protect your child’s oral health until it becomes obvious that the tooth has erupted and brushing is required.

When Is It Safe To Start Brushing My Children’s Teeth? 

To many parents, this is a surprise but you should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the baby gets their first tooth. Any size soft bristle toothbrush should do the job, but there are many appropriate options available for babies. Since babies and toddlers cannot spit they will end up swallowing the toothpaste so when starting out, brush your baby’s teeth with just water to remove plaque on the baby’s early teeth. 

At What Age Is It Appropriate For My Child To Use Regular Toothpaste?

Most children by age 2,  should use some kind of fluoride-free toothpaste. Start with just a small dab on the toothbrush. The size of a pea is enough for children up to 3-4 years old. Brush twice a day for 2 minutes and teach your child to spit at the end of the brushing. 

Once your child has mastered the skill of spitting it may be time to switch to regular toothpaste. Most children switch to regular toothpaste approximately around the age of six. However, there is no specific age or a hard deadline to switch. Even if this means switching until they are older, do not have your child switch to fluoride toothpaste until they are able to spit for their safety.  

How To Teach Your Child How To Brush Their Teeth And Spit?

Here are some tips you can try that will help you teach your child how to spit and brush correctly: 

1. Guide by example and always brush your teeth with them. 

2. Start brushing at an early age.

3. Make brushing your teeth a fun activity. You can play a game or tell your child a story. 

4. Let them pick their toothbrush and toothpaste. 

5. Compliment their brushing skills and create a reward system when they do a good job.

6. Read a story about dental care. 

7. Be patient, and remember that practice makes perfect.

8. Let us help you through the process.

What Dental Services Are Available For My Child? 

The pediatric specialists at All Kids Dental in Suffolk, VA, are dedicated to bringing quality dental care to all children, no matter their needs. We understand that even with good oral hygiene tooth damage can occur. We offer the following services to all children: 

  • Dental Restoration Procedures: Dental restorations describe procedures in which dental prosthetics are used to replace missing tooth structures. Three common types of dental restoration procedures for children are dental fillings, dental crowns, and space-maintainers.

  • Fluoride Treatments: Fluoride treatment is the application of topical fluoride to the tops and sides of each tooth. Fluoride varnish is a useful preventative measure in children with cavity-free teeth and is also effective in helping children with high-sugar diets that are susceptible to tooth decay.

If you need dental assistance for your child give us a call at (757) 922-8110.