yellow toothbrush with blue red and white striped toothpaste sitting on white counter

Walk down the dental aisle at your local grocery or drugstore and you’ll see more rows of toothpaste than you thought possible. There are the popular brands like Colgate and Crest, as well as natural brands, off-brands, and specialty pastes from just about every brand available. So how do you pick the toothpaste that’s right for you or your child?

Know Your Needs

Whether you’re looking for a toothpaste for yourself or your child, it’s important to know what you need from your toothpaste before you buy. Fluoride-free, whitening, plaque-fighting, desensitizing – you can pretty much find it all out there. So, before you head out to buy a new tube of paste, talk with your pediatric dentist so they can help you find what is best for your child’s dental health. That will help you focus your efforts when you get to the dental aisle. Some kids don’t like “spicy” or “minty” toothpastes, and others may prefer a specific flavor. It’s important to choose a toothpaste your child enjoys so they are more likely to use it! Your pediatric dentist can make recommendations on the perfect toothpaste for your child’s palate.

Toothpastes for Kids

You should start your child’s dental care routine early. The American Academy of Pediatrics and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both agree that you can begin brushing your child’s teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush and a grain of rice-size amount of fluoride toothpaste as soon as they have teeth. Training toothpaste and soft-bristled brush or a soft piece of gauze are great for once your child is used to have their gums “brushed.” Crest is a popular brand for kids’ toothpastes. When choosing a toothpaste for you or your kids, always look for the ADA seal of approval. This will ensure you are buying a useful product that will actually work.

Make sure to avoid using any abrasive toothpastes, as children’s teeth have a very thin layer of enamel that is easy to remove. Also avoid whitening toothpastes. These do not tend to work as advertised and can also be abrasive.

Toothpastes for Overall Care

Popular brands like CrestColgate, and Tom’s of Maine all carry lines of toothpaste that are designed to provide protection to the entire mouth. You’ll see phrases like “complete,” “total,” or “whole” on the box. These pastes aim to help prevent gingivitis, fight plaque build-up, and stave off bad breath. These are great for people who don’t have specific oral health concerns and instead want to focus on whole-mouth care.

Specialty Toothpastes

If you have a problem area in your mouth that you want to work on, there might be a toothpaste that can help you. Choose a whitening toothpaste like Opalescence Whitening or Crest 3D White to achieve a brighter smile over time. Opalescence’s whitening systems are a top choice among dental offices, and their toothpaste will not disappoint. Please remember, whitening toothpastes are not for children. For sensitive teeth, consider Sensodyne, a brand that focuses its efforts on helping people with sensitive teeth. Their lineup includes desensitizing pastes that also help with issues like whitening and tartar control. If you prefer to go natural, Tom’s of Maine products are free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and fragrances. The company offers a wide variety of pastes to cater to many different dental needs. If your child has been struggling with tooth cavities, your kid’s dentist can prescribe prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste to add an extra boost of protection when fighting off decay.

Choosing a toothpaste may seem like a daunting task when you first step foot in an aisle brimming with toothbrushes and toothpastes, but it doesn’t have to. If you go knowing what you need out of your paste, you can quickly narrow down your choices and then choose based on personal preferences like a favorite brand or a flavor. If you have questions about the best kind of toothpaste for your family or child, don’t hesitate to ask one of our team members at your child’s next appointment. Or give us a call – we’re always happy to help you stay on top of your family’s dental health!