What kinds and amounts of toothpaste are safe for toddlers?

Peggy Rosen
Brush the toddlers' teeth without toothpaste at the beginning and gradually incorporate a very small amount of toothpaste made of natural ingredients without fluoride. If the toddler gags easily, stop using any toothpaste until the toddler is familiar with the brush.
Toddlers can use children's toothpastes that do not contain fluoride. As they get older you can transition to fluoride-containing toothpaste using a pea-sized amount on the toothbrush.
Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits early can lead to a lifetime of good dental health. As soon as teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a child's size toothbrush and water. Once your child is two, begin brushing his or her teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. (Ask your child's dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste before age two.) Until your child is six or seven years old, continue to brush his or her teeth twice a day with a child’s size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and continue to assist with flossing as needed.

Look for fluoride toothpastes that have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which means they have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness.
Regular fluoride toothpastes of any flavor should be sufficient, so choose a flavor your child likes. Use less than a gram (the size of a pea) of toothpaste, and smooth it into the brush before your child starts brushing. Teach your toddler not to swallow the toothpaste, as it could cause problems with their permanent teeth. Practicing this skill with water when brushing before the age of two can be helpful when toothpaste finally comes into play. If your child is swallowing too much toothpaste, ask your dentist for tips or continue using water only.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.