Toothpaste for Little One

Updated on August 29, 2011
S.H. asks from Glen Allen, VA
19 answers

I have used training toothpaste since my son's first tooth popped through at 4 months. He loves it. But ever since he turned 2 I've been trying to find a flouride toothpaste he will use. He is almost 3 and we are still having this battle. It's getting really bad - to the point that he runs when I want to brush his teeth. I don't want him to HATE brushing his teeth! Has anyone found a toothpaste that your kids really like? I've tried several bubble gum, bubble fruit, etc. flavors to no avail. I even got desperate and tried a couple of mint flavors on the off chance one of those would be okay. He hates them all and keeps asking for the training toothpaste but his teeth are getting kind of yellow and I am worried about cavities. I know a lot of people will say "just make him" and I do but it's pretty tough when he's clamping down or using his tongue to push the brush out. Again, don't want this to become a lifelong battle - want the good habits to get set now! He goes to the dentist for the 1st time next month but they said they still probably won't clean his teeth! I know it can't feel good to have nasty teeth. Sorry, I'm a big oral hygiene person so this really bugs me!

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So What Happened?

I think I need to clarify a little bit. I do let him brush his own teeth. Always have since he was about 1. He pretty much sucks on the toothbrush and does a little brushing then I go behind him and do the real work (gently). He generally enjoys everything about the process - he has his own special toothbrushes that he LOVES. I have a toothbrush in with his and I'll let him "brush" my teeth while I brush his. He thinks that is great fun! He has always been excellent about it all until I tried to switch to toothpaste with flouride. I've tried letting him pick out his own - Spongebob - that lasted for 1 try. I am going to try the Strawberry flavors a few posters talked about - Colgate and Tom's of Maine. He has recently decided he likes strawberry so maybe I'll have some luck there. Keep the suggestions rolling!

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answers from Cleveland on

My children cannot stand the flavor of any toothpaste other than Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry. The detest the bubblegum flavored ones and my son can't stand mint flavor. So Tom's is the only brand they both like.

I don't know WHY toothpaste companies don't make simple fruit flavored toothpaste for children. Why does it always have to taste like bubblegum? And it doesn't matter what the company names the flavor - very berry, fruit-o-licious, berry-yum -- whatever - it ALL has that "bubblegummy" taste. Eww!

Try Tom's. It's good.


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answers from Tallahassee on

I used to have issues with my daughter too in regards to her toothpaste. I bought all different kinds of toothpaste (Princess, Barbie, bubble gum flavor, strawberry flavor, berry flavor, etc.) and different toothbrushes (manual and electric). I even took her to let her pick out her own toothpaste and toothbrush and it still didn't help for more than a week or so. Last time I bought toothpaste for her, I got Colgate Kids Liquid Gel Toothpaste in Strawberry flavor (it also comes in Watermelon). She has been using it for about 2 months so far with no complaints at all.

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answers from St. Louis on

I am no dentist, but I don't think a flouride toothpaste is going to help with whiteness. And good brushing habits don't equate to using flouride toothpaste. I know plenty of people who use non flouride toothpaste and have perfectly healthy teeth. I would go back to the training toothpaste until his next appt and then ask the dentist. I really don't think the flouride is a make or break deal at this stage. His teeth are clean even if they don't "look" clean.

Yes, flouride has been shown to help prevent cavities, but so does good hygiene and a million other things. Good luck, stop stressing, and brush those teeth!

ETA: I have actually noticed my kids teeth look better when using non flouride toothpaste! No white spots! I think we overuse flouride here in America.

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answers from New York on

Stay with the non-flouride for now, but make sure he's taking a supplement. I asked our dentist this question last week when my little one had his first visit. He said that once we ran out of the training stuff we should switch over, but no rush.

We let him pick-out what he wants to use when the time comes and he picked out Spiderman toothpaste. Outstanding choice- at least it smells minty!

**Our dentist did clean his teeth, but not like they do ours (no "picking" or flossing). They did paint a flouride onto his teeth as well.

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answers from Cleveland on

We've never bought toothpaste specifically for flouride. My girls are 5.5 and brush daily, and he might be at an age where he is just going to be difficult to brush his teeth. I'm sure most kids go through this stage at one time or another. We buy the name brand kids toothpaste - they recently liked the strawberry flavor (until I dropped it in the toilet - oops) and then I bought colgate with princesses.... I guess what I'm trying to say is, that try to make it easier on you and him during teeth brushing time by using a paste he will tolerate, and ask the dentist. My girls have very healthy teeth, no cavaties, and again, I don't buy specifically for flouride. (Also - won't too much flouride cause white spots on their baby teeth?).

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answers from St. Louis on

I'd say it's okay to let him use the training toothpaste. The dentist will most likely give him a small tube of kids' toothpaste when he's there so he may want to try that.

As far as having them clean his teeth - it will depend how he's acting when he's there. If he's not nervous/scared/crying, they will probably go ahead and clean them.

Good luck!


answers from Lansing on

Have you tried letting him pick out a toothpaste? Maybe there is some character he'll really love and then want to use it. Also, don't put much on the brush just a little bit, then maybe the taste won't overwhelm him.



answers from Philadelphia on

We use the Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste and my son really likes it, but we've never really had a problem with any kind.

I inclined to agree with other posters that maybe he wants some independence. A friend of mine was having trouble getting her daughter to brush and she got her a little timer that goes for 2 or 3 minutes and she knows she has to brush for that long and then she's done.



answers from Washington DC on

We avoid flouride toothpaste and flouride treatments. We use a holistic dentist who has educated us about the adverse effects of flouride.
Tom's of Maine has been mentioned. We also use Nature's Gate, which comes in many flavors.
It's the length of brushing not really the toothpaste that will clean his teeth. Have you tried a battery operated toothbrush? That might help.



answers from Washington DC on

I haven't read the other responses so I am sorry if I am repeating what someone else has already posted.

You don't really need the fluoride. Just good brushing and flossing is all you need. You may need to introduce flossing a little at a time but even if you just pop it in between some of his teeth one day and the some other teeth another, you are doing well.

If you feel like he must have fluoride and you don't think he is getting enough from the water he drinks, then try a rinse. If he is too young to do without swallowing, try putting some on your finger and wiping it across his teeth.

good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I know what you mean by not wanting to make teeth brushing a battle. My kids like the sparkle toothpaste-I can't remember if it;s crest or colgate. I wonder if his teeth are turning yellow from some other reason than not brushing enough? In the meantime I'd probably use the training toothpaste for now so at least he is still learning good brushing techniques and getting into the habit of brushing twice a day. Try again in a month or 2 with other kids toothpaste. The dentist should have advice as well. good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

Mine is very picky and he's 8. He only likes the true bubble gum flavor, not bubble mint or bubble fruit. He also likes the Oral B stages Fruit Burst. But one misconception about fluoride that I've recently discovered. Fluoride only strenghthens teeth when it is applied directly to the teeth (i.e. fluoride at the dentist, from toothpaste or dental rinse).
There is a huge debate now among scientists about the dangers of fluoride in drinking water, so I don't drink tap water much any more and neither does my family. Drinking water with fluoride is beginning to be shown to cause bone problems, and fluorine (from which fluoride comes) is actually a toxin in larger quantities (i.e. fluorine gas). This is why young children shouldn't have fluoridated toothpaste because they can't be prevented from swallowing it.



answers from Charlottesville on

Try using the toddler toothpaste and let him have bottled water with flouride. You dentist will have more professional advice, but the act of brushing is important and you want him to consider it a positive experience :) My 9-year-old sone will only use his sister's pink, princess tootthpaste because he doesn't like the taste of the others. As long as he brushes, I'm happy!



answers from Washington DC on

It's the brushing, not the flouride, that keeps the teeth clean. The purpose of flouride is to help strengthen the teeth to reduce the risk of cavities... that's it. If he doesn't like flouride toothpaste, don't use it. If you are adamant about him using flouride, then we like Colgate Strawberry in our house. My daughter can't stand the mint flavors and doesn't like the bubble gum ones, either.

You can also try a flouride rinse, like ACT, with the non-flouride toothpaste. My daughter has Celiac disease, which can cause weak teeth, so we have to use a supplemental rinse.

I would wait and talk to his dentist, though. He's only 3, and until he can spit you shouldn't use flouride toothpaste anyway. It is dangerous if it is consistently swallowed. My daughter was 4 before she could spit well enough to move to flouride.



answers from Houston on

I'm thinking it might also be an issue of independence. By almost 3 years old, he might be tired of you brushing his teeth for him?? Maybe start trying to get him to brush his teeth himself alongside you brushing your teeth and teach him how to do it on his own. He might surprise you and be more into it then. Maybe start that with the training toothpaste and then switch to regular. Or maybe tell him he's becoming a big boy and he can do it himself with the big boy toothpaste.

Guess this suggestion is no good if he's already doing it on his own :) Good luck!!



answers from Chicago on

Our son hated to have to spit out the flouride toothpaste, so we let him use the training stuff till he was 4 ...then we told him his teeth would fall out (in a joking manner) if he didnt use the "big boy" toothpaste like mommy and daddy instead of the "baby" kind like his baby brother. Something clicked and he was ready to use the flouride toothpaste and spit. We also let him pick out his favorite character kind. We still brush him first and then let him do it himself after, and we dont put a ton of toothpaste on the brush.



answers from Washington DC on

The important thing is to brush his teeth. You are absolutely right - do not let this turn into a battle. Fluoride in toothpaste is great, but getting the plaque off the teeth is critical. Time enough for fluoride later. If you have it in your drinking water, you are in good shape, because the fluride will incorporate into the formation of his teeth. Good luck!


answers from Houston on

Help him pick a really cool toothbrush, like a battery operated Dora or Spiderman or something. It may make it easier. Sometimes its not that they hate the taste, it's that they hate the process. My kids hate the 'hot' toothpaste, anything minty. But once I got one with a Spongebob on it, all of a sudden they want it. This is kind of funny, b/c I'm usually against major licensed character marketing, but if it helps with teeth brushing, I make an exception.



answers from Norfolk on

ask the dentist but the only thing different is the floride. so as long as he drink florinated water i don't see the problem.

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