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Best Toothpaste For Kids

Updated on February 11, 2011

I hated brushing my teeth as a child. Hated it. In fact, when my mother sent me into the bathroom to brush them before bed, I'd run the water, open and close drawers and do whatever else I thought would give the impression that I was actually brushing my teeth. I even had the sense to wet the bristles before leaving the bathroom so she'd be adequately faked out. Why did I hate brushing them so much? Simple: I hated the toothpaste. And I really mean that -- I hated it. It burned the crap out of my mouth. It was too hot for me, but she thought I was exaggerating and continued to buy it. And don't even get me started on the cinnamon flavored mouthwash; that stuff made me cry!

Fortunately, I did find a toothpaste that I really liked -- and didn't burn -- when I got older: Arm and Hammer something or other. (Can't recall exactly, as it's been years since I've seen the brand anywhere.) I loved it, and happily brushed my teeth several times a day. If I'd never discovered a toothpaste that I liked, God knows where I'd be today -- but I'm pretty sure I'd have trouble getting dates with how rank my breath would be by now.

Simply put, the best toothpaste is one that your child will actually use.

There are a lot of debates over major brands that contain all kinds of nasties that you don't really want going into your child's mouth. Dyes and other chemicals make some toothpastes less than star quality. On the other hand, some natural toothpastes really taste like crap, which begs the question, "How good is healthy toothpaste if it never gets any use?"

The secret is finding a natural toothpaste that they like.

This may involve buying several brands and flavors until your little princess will use it without spitting it out straight away. There is bound to be one out there. Toms of Maine makes a few child-oriented flavors (strawberry and orange) that lots of kids will happily use. Some of them do contain flouride, though, so if you don't want your kid using flouride, you'll need to check the label.

Dont force them to use one they don't like.

This can be applied to other areas of parenting, but as we're talking about toothpaste: If you let your kid pick out a new, natural, toothpaste and they don't like it, don't force them to use all of it before letting them try another one. Not only would that make you a total jerk, it also makes you an idiot. Your kid is more clever than you think, and, unless you're going to police them whilst they brush their teeth, it's unlikely that they will do so for more than a few seconds, if at all. That tube of toothpaste will end up lasting until they leave for college.

Why would forcing them make you a jerk? For starters, you're forcing them to use something they don't like, and you're doing it without good reason. It's not like toothpaste costs a fortune, and it's not like you only have 1 flavor to choose from. Some children have very sensitive mouths, and some toothpastes really do burn. Would you use an entire tube of toothpaste that you hated? No, you'd go out and buy something else. Enough said.

Toothbrushes Matter, Too!

  • If your child has a sensitive mouth, make sure you have an extra soft toothbrush.

  • Make sure you replace them often, as hard bristles can be a deterrent when it comes time to brushing teeth.

  • Fun toothbrushes DO help motivate kids! Glitter, Spiderman and Cinderella toothbrushes are cool!

  • If your child has an extra small mouth, make sure the brush is extra small. Sounds obvious, but it's often overlooked.

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