When Should a Child Start Using Toothpaste?

Young girl brushing her teeth

Taking care of a small child can feel like a full-time job. With diaper changes, bath time, bedtime routines, and mealtime, parents also need to care for their child’s teeth.

To make your day a little easier, we have some helpful guidelines for everyday oral care for your child from birth through toddlerhood.

Birth to 18 Months
As soon as your child’s teeth begin to come in, it is time to start cleaning them. For babies younger than 18 months, the best way to clean your child’s teeth is with a wet cloth or gauze and without toothpaste.

Gently rub the teeth and gums with a cloth over your fingertip. Along with nursing, formula and/or water, this is the only oral care that your young child needs. Once there is a full set of teeth, you can use a small, soft bristled toothbrush and water.

When to Start Toothpaste
Once your child is 18 months old, look for a toothpaste specially formulated for children. Young children have different dental needs and children’s toothpaste caters to these needs.

What to Look for in Children’s Toothpaste
> Safe to swallow: Young children tend to swallow their toothpaste rather than spitting it out. Make sure that your children’s toothpaste is formulated with this in mind.
> Pea-sized amount: Your child doesn’t need a lot of toothpaste to be effective, you only need to use a pea-sized amount.
> Low-fluoride: Fluoride is an important element of keeping teeth healthy and strong, but too much fluoride can be harmful for young children. Several varieties of children’s toothpaste have lower amounts of fluoride.
> Fun flavours: Some children, especially toddlers, tend to be picky. Be prepared to try a few different varieties of toothpaste to see which one is the best.

By taking time each day – morning and night – to clean your child’s teeth, you are helping your child create a lifetime of healthy dental habits.

If you have any questions about toothpaste or your child’s dental health, please contact our office at (514) 364-3366 or click here to visit our website. Also, be sure to visit our Facebook page to keep up with information that affect your dental health and wellness.

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