Let’s face it; the oral hygiene isle at the store is very overwhelming for everyone! Many children do not like the taste of certain toothpastes and rinses, leaving parents with a wide variety of fruity flavors to use themselves, which as a parent can be frustrating. Toothpaste varies tube to tube, which is why you should look at the ingredients before purchasing. The perfect toothpaste for your children should be one they enjoy, as well as contains safe, healthy ingredients that provide effective cleaning.
The biggest difference in most children’s toothpaste is whether or not it contains any Fluoride or Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS). Fluoride is a very controversial topic, and I recommend doing what you believe is best for your child. I will say that fluoride is a natural ingredient found in many sources and I do feel that used within moderation in toothpaste, it’s a great way to fight cavities, especially in children who tend to snack and have ever changing acid levels in their mouths. Fluoride toothpaste in a pea size amount is good for daily use when children can spit out their toothpaste. Its important children only have a pea size amount, if they ingest too much fluoride it can cause white spots on their teeth. Remember it’s easy for children to get carried away with putting too much toothpaste and sucking it off, so be sure to teach them the appropriate amount and supervise brushing. Sodium Laurel Sulfate is the ingredient that causes the foamy reaction in your mouth when brushing. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a salt derived from lauryl sulfate. It is synthetically produced in laboratories through a process of denaturing dodecanol, a fatty alcohol that’s extracted from coconut and palm kernel oil (1). I mention SLS because some children have reactions to the SLS in their toothpaste, causing mouth sores; such as canker sores and mouth ulcers in addition to an upset stomach or experience diarrhea when swallowed. Although, there is no conclusive clinical evidence that SLS is the cause of the mouth sores, I have many patients who noticed a difference when they stopped using toothpaste that that contained SLS.
The top toothpastes that I found in my research and from my personal experience are the following:
Best Toothpaste Overall:
1. Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry - All natural, ADA approved, contains Fluoride & Sodium Laurel Sulfate
Best Fluoride Free:
1. Tom’s of Maine Natural Toothpaste – Fluoride & Sodium Laurel Sulfate free, Gluten free, No artificial colors or preservatives
2. Kiss My Face - Fluoride & Sodium Laurel Sulfate Free, Gluten free, No artificial Colors or flavors
3. Hello- Fluoride & Sodium laurel sulfate free, Gluten free, No artificial colors or sweeteners
* The above three all contain Xylitol, which are natural sweeteners that prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth.
Best Cavity Fighting:
1. Aquafresh Kids cavity protection bubble mint – It is a mix of fluoride and natural calcium, it has a gel- foam texture which gets into those tough to reach places, its inexpensive and less messy, contains artificial dyes and Sodium Laurel Sulfate which are two controversial ingredients for some people.