Patient Education


Finding Toothpaste
for Your Child

When you notice your child's first tooth, you might worry about how to prevent problems like early childhood tooth decay. It's a condition that affects millions of kids across the world. With thousands of varieties of toothpaste on the market, it isn’t always easy to narrow down what would work best for your child. Here is an in-depth guide to understanding toothpaste varieties and how to choose the best version for your little one.

Understanding Toothpaste Ingredients

Many people assume that all toothpastes are the same. Children’s dentists across Indianapolis explain that different toothpastes do different things. Before you buy any toothpaste for your child, you must read the label to understand the ingredients. Here are a few of the most common toothpaste ingredients, what they do, and how they could affect your child’s teeth.


    Many toothpastes, especially versions designed to whiten teeth, contain abrasives. They are used to scrape away plaque and tartar on teeth. Common abrasives are calcium carbonate (baking soda) and silicates (sand). These rub against the teeth to create a smooth, polished surface. Most children don’t need abrasives to clean their teeth. Using these gritty pastes too often could cause problems like gum erosion—especially in kids who may not know how to brush quite yet. Unless advised by your pediatric dentist in Fishers, never let your child use toothpaste with abrasives.


    Have you ever wondered how toothpastes taste sweet without causing dental decay? The answer is artificial sweeteners. Sweeteners and flavoring agents can create exciting flavors that your kids will love, including bubble gum, lemon-lime, fruit, and even mint.


    Without anti-drying agents, toothpaste would be too hard to push through the tube. Some organic products don’t contain anti-drying agents, which can create application problems for kids.


    Toothpaste also contains thickening agents, which makes it easier to work with. Many thickening agents come from gum molecules or even seaweed extracts that are safe for kids.


    Detergents are the ingredients in toothpaste that are responsible for killing the bacteria in your mouth. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common toothpaste detergent, creating suds and washing the inside of your mouth. But, many new toothpastes contain alternative detergents that are also effective.


    Fluoride, which is a naturally-occurring mineral present in every natural water source, strengthens your dental enamel on a microscopic level. Fluoride can also help to neutralize bacterial acids in your child’s mouth, warding off decay. Never buy a toothpaste for your child that doesn’t contain fluoride.


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Toothpaste Varieties and Your Child's Dental Health

Most toothpastes contain a variety of ingredients to achieve different dental hygiene results. Unfortunately, not every variety is suitable for kids. Anti-plaque and anti-tartar toothpastes help your child to ward off dental decay. But, versions containing strong abrasives are may be more suitable for a serious smoker than they are for a child with brand new little chompers.

When you shop for toothpaste, look for versions marketed especially for children. Pay attention to whether they contain ingredients designed to tackle other concerns. For example, some toothpastes help people with specific issues like gingivitis or sensitivity. Those aren’t concerns that normally plague children. Remember that herbal toothpaste varieties may not contain essential ingredients like fluoride or detergents. That could create additional dental problems for your child.

To make the shopping process easier, consider purchasing small tubes of several different varieties and letting your child try one each day. Remember that kids under the age of three only need a smear about the size of a grain of rice. Kids who are at risk of swallowing toothpaste shouldn’t be using a dollop larger than a pea. Talk with your pediatric dentist in Indianapolis to choose toothpaste that is appropriate for your child’s age, dental needs, and personal habits. By the time your child is about ten years old and understands how to brush and floss properly on their own, they are ready for an adult toothpaste.

Tips For Making Dental Care Easier for Kids

Do you have a difficult time getting your child to brush and floss like they should? Daily dental care doesn’t have to be an ongoing argument. To make brushing easier for your children, consider letting them help shop for their dental supplies. You might also offer your child plaque detection tablets made with a food-safe dye that lets kids see what they are actually brushing away. Oftentimes, when kids understand why they need to brush and enjoy the products they are using, they are more motivated to take care of their smiles. See our pages about teaching kids to brush and floss.

Schedule Your Child's Next Checkup Today

Do you need help choosing the best oral healthcare products for your child? Dr. Michelle Edwards at Children’s Dental Center understands how difficult dental care can be for parents and children alike. This is why she is more than happy to sit down with you to talk about your dental product options. This dedicated pediatric dentist in Fishers loves helping kids to feel more confident in the dental chair. To learn why Dr. Edwards is considered one of the best pediatric dentists in Indianapolis, schedule your child’s next checkup today.


Meet Dr. Edwards


Indianapolis Pediatric Dentist Dr. Edwards helps families set the stage for a life-long commitment to oral health in a friendly and approachable manner. She provides a pleasant visit to the dental office, promoting trust and confidence in young patients that lasts a lifetime.