What Age Can a Child Use Normal Toothpaste
When babies first get teeth at around the age of 6 months you should start brushing twice daily with toothpaste but you will want to choose a baby toothpaste rather than just giving them a smidge of yours.
Why You Should Start With a Baby/Toddler Toothpaste
While there are many brands out there offering special baby and child toothpastes the main reason you should choose a different toothpaste for babies and toddlers is that baby toothpaste has a lower fluoride content than adult toothpaste.
Even with the lower fluoride content some people recommend not using a fluoride toothpaste until children are old enough to reliably spit rather than swallow their toothpaste. Making this call should be your decision and you may want to talk to your dentist for more information.
Baby and toddler toothpastes as well as being lower in fluoride or fluoride free also tend to have a milder flavour which can help with encouraging babies and young children to brush their teeth. A strong mint flavour can be too much for little ones. Using a mild mint toothpaste is a great way to get them used to the minty flavour of most adult toothpastes. Or you can choose a fruity flavour if they donít like the mint.
If you are using a fluoride toothpaste it's really important to make sure you apply the toothpaste for young children so they donít get too much. Children under the age of 3 should use only a smear of toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice, whereas older children can have a pea sized amount.
If children like the taste of their toothpaste they might want more or try and eat it from the tube which is not a good idea especially if you are using a fluoride toothpaste as this can cause stomach upset or dental fluorosis.
Switching to adult toothpaste
Advice varies as to when you should switch to a toothpaste with a higher fluoride content with some suggesting age three and others suggesting waiting until children are 7. The NHS website suggests that children age 3-6 can use either a child's toothpaste with fluoride of 1000ppm or a family toothpaste with fluoride up to 1500ppm. And that children over 7 should use a toothpaste with at least 1350ppm.
Of course if you are not using fluoride then you donít need to worry so much about when you switch although you may still find that children do not enjoy a strong minty flavour and are more enthusiastic about brushing their teeth if they get to choose their favourite fruity flavour instead.
It is also important to remember that encouraging children to brush twice a day for 2 minutes is the most important thing so if they need to keep using the toothpaste that they are used to for a bit longer donít worry too much.
Next Up: Tips To Help Get Children Brushing Their Teeth