When to Switch from Toddler Toothpaste

Updated on November 24, 2009
M.S. asks from Palo Alto, CA
15 answers

My 4 1/2 year old loves her toddler toothpaste. However, it doesn't seem to be doing the job anymore. We have tried to get her to spit when she brushes but she just swallows it. We've tried to switch her to regular paste but she hates it, and doesn't want to spit. She just wants to swallow it then gets mad cause it doesn't taste like her toddler toothpaste.

What have other's done in this situation. Just not sure how to handle her dragon breath lol.

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C.P.

answers from Milwaukee on

If the issue is her breath, try kid's mouth wash. My son love it and uses it right after brushing. He also liked swallowing his toothpaste so with the rinse, we told him he it wasn't like toothpaste and had to spit it out.

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C.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

We tell our kids it will hurt their tummy to swallow toothpaste and we have them practice spitting. My almost-3-year-old uses big kid blue sparkle toothpaste. Really, all kids are going to eat some toothpaste at some point. I did when I was well old enough to know better. You just have to remind them that it's not good for them.

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E.B.

answers from Duluth on

MY kid hated it, but I really don't know why...I bought Tom's of Maine toothpaste (it's an organic type thing) at Target, and it's strawberry shortcake flavored! It actually tasted like strawberry shortcake, too! I ended up using it, but I've recommended it to friends whose children don't like that sharp tang of minty toothpase, and it's worked for their kids! Oh--my oldest was definitely on grown-up toothpaste by 4 1/2.

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J.L.

answers from Davenport on

Make it a game. Have a spitting marathon in the sink, so she gets it figured out. Try another flavor of the flouride toothpaste. Let her know that if she swallows it, she will get to brush with only water. I've told my 4 year old that we can't swallow toothpaste because it has flouride in it. If we swallow it all the time we get yucky spots on our teeth. When he starts trying to eat it again, or not spitting it, it gets taken away for a day, and he brushes with water. You could introduce a bubblegum flavored mouthwash, too, with the same rules. Caleb likes to do a silly dance while he tries to swish. Whatever consequence you do, stick with it. Don't do it for a few days and then try something else, you'll fail every time that way.

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M.W.

answers from St. Cloud on

Flouride is a toxic chemical so I would NOT switch her!

Nature's Gate makes some great toothpaste that is flouride free but still cleans the mouth. The mint and wintergreen are nice flavors but they have even more to choose from. Go to the natural/organic section of your local grocery store and you should be able to find it. I purchase ours from azurestandard.com

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C.F.

answers from Rochester on

Try the Oral B kids toothpaste. They have them next to the kids toothbrushes in Target (and Walmart, too, I think). They have flouride in them, but they don't taste yucky. They have a few different kid friendly flavors, and she can pick which character she wants- Little Einsteins, princesses, Cars, etc. My daughter is 4 and she has never complained about any of the flavors, and we've been using them for probably a year. Just remind her to spit. Good luck!

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J.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

Our dentist had us using regular toothpaste (Colgate for kids) as soon our kids turned around age 3 to 3 1/2. He recommends that parents brush and floss the child's teeth until about age 8. He says that while kids are old enough to "get it" about the importance of hygiene, they don't have the dexterity to get the teeth cleaned properly. He also recommends using a pre-rinse like Listerine Agent Cool Blue before brushing. It tints the teeth to help you spot areas where tartar is building up on the teeth.

For toothpaste, try Colgate or Aquafresh for kids or Tom's natural toothpaste. They're not as minty as adult toothpaste -- they usually come in flavors like bubblegum or a really mellow mint.

We have not had a problem with the wee-ones swallowing toothpaste, and I'm guessing it's because we still brush their teeth for them because of the dentist's recommendation. So we would be able to stop them if they were to try to do so. But, when we're/I'm brushing, I'm usually the one to tell them to "spit it out" before they get to the point where they feel they'd need to swallow it.

If you're not doing this, perhaps give it a try and see if that keeps her from swallowing too much also.

By the way, I highly recommend that pre-rinse, even when they get older. For our independant "tooth-brusher" it has really noticeably improved how well he cleans his teeth.

Hope this helps.

E.I.

answers from Duluth on

i would just keep doing what you are doing. it wont hurt her to be using toddler toothpaste, and some reasearch suggests that floride is becoming an issue for kids and people of all ages... so i wouldnt worry about the toothpaste shes using. if shes brushing her teeth, no worries!

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S.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is just over 2 1/2 and I had noticed that all she wanted to do was eat her toddler toothpaste. I got the Oral B stages in the bubble gum flavor and I usually only put a pea size on her brush. Because it foams up she doesn't readily swallow it and is now learning the joys of spitting. I usually let her start and then I finish for her and hold her to the sink to spit. She is doing really well this way.

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C.P.

answers from Milwaukee on

If the issue is her breath, try kid's mouth wash. My son love it and uses it right after brushing. He also liked swallowing his toothpaste so with the rinse, we told him he it wasn't like toothpaste and had to spit it out.

B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

We use Toms All Natural toothpaste, and we don't do any rinses or anything. My boys are 4 and 7.5, and they've been using Toms since birth.

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D.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

Marie - the bad breath could be coming from something other than the toothpaste, sinus issues, throat issues, etc.

I know many people like to change to adult toothpaste because of the flouride. Personally, I purchase a flouride-free toothpaste for my family. I don't want to add any additional toxins to our bodies.

Good luck

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A.D.

answers from Bismarck on

I switched my girls to Spry toothpaste made with Xylitol. It is safe to swallow and is fluoride free so no concerns there. My 5 year old since using that toothpaste has learned to spit it out b/c she doesn't care for the minty taste. I feel like it does a good job cleaning their teeth.

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L.H.

answers from Fargo on

Hi, my name is L. and I have a 3 1/2 yr old daughter. Her dentist told us that toothpaste is not needed and that good brushing and flossing will help with bad breath. We have stopped using floride tooth paste and if you look it up you will find it is poisionous in large amounts "something not even our dentist would tell us??" Good luck!!

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J.M.

answers from Duluth on

You might want to have your ped check her ears, nose and throat. She may have problems there that is causing the "dragon breath." Tooth brushing would have no effect on something going on in her tonsils!

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