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What is the best kind of toothpaste for my child to use?

Dr. Liz

Next time you’re in the grocery store or Target, wander down the toothpaste aisle and take a look at all the options there are for fluoride toothpaste for children. Combine that with all the press you’ve heard about fluoride, good and bad. It’s no wonder it’s difficult to identify which toothpaste is best for your children.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all children start using a fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first tooth erupts, usually around 6 months of age.

From the first tooth – 3 years of age, the recommendation is to use a grain of rice sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

From age 3 years – 6 years of age, the recommendation is to use a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.


Many parents are concerned that their child will swallow this toothpaste and that the fluoride swallowed is bad for their children. Research shows that it is safe to brush with these recommended amounts of fluoride toothpaste 2X/day, even if your child is swallowing some or all of this toothpaste. We recommend using a children’s specific toothpaste, ideally the Colgate Junior brand or Kids Crest. If you’re wondering the difference between a gel toothpaste versus a traditional toothpaste; the major difference is appearance and texture. Gel paste tends to be less abrasive, but does not offer the “foamy” texture of a traditional toothpaste. 

To learn more about the recommended type of toothbrush your child should be using based on their age, check out our blog on Toothbrushes HERE.

If you are interested in learning more about fluoride and the benefits it can provide for your child’s oral health, check out this AAPD Guideline on Fluoride Therapy:

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