Without the right toothpaste, getting toddlers to brush their teeth twice a day can be an epic struggle.
They’ll scream, cry, and fight to avoid the taste of something they hate.
So you have to make sure you get the best toothpaste in flavors that will convince them they actually want to brush their teeth.
These are our favorite brands and picks.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Toddler Toothpaste Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
When Should My Child Start Using Toothpaste?
Brushing their child’s teeth is one of those things parents start to think about long before it happens. You wonder if your child will get the hang of spitting out toothpaste or if they’ll end up swallowing it. Then you start to worry if they do swallow it that they’ll get sick — after all, there are warnings on toothpaste boxes cautioning you never to swallow it.
But I also didn’t want to introduce my child to brushing their teeth too late, because I didn’t want their baby teeth decaying.
I asked around and did a little independent research to figure out what the perfect time to introduce brushing was. I found out that you can start encouraging your child to use a toothbrush as early as you want — once they have teeth, of course. When I was a new mom, dentists said fluoride shouldn’t be introduced until they turn 3 years old.
What Should I Look For?
Toothpaste can vary in quality from brand to brand, so shop around before making a decision.
There are certain things that you need:
- It should have fluoride: This wards off tooth decay, but it shouldn’t be used in a larger amount until your child masters spitting out the toothpaste they use instead of swallowing it (source). Some parents opt for a non-fluoride option until they feel their baby can fully spit it out, because excess fluoride can lead to white spots on the teeth or darkened enamel if swallowed excessively (source).
- Make it a great flavor: The strong minty flavors many adults prefer can be enough to make a child feel like their mouth is on fire. Instead, look for kid-friendly flavors that will make them like brushing their teeth, like bubble gum. The better the flavor tastes to them, the less resistance they’ll give you and the longer they’ll tolerate brushing their teeth in a session.
How Much Should They Use?
As soon as they have teeth, you should start using a smidge of toothpaste — only the size of a grain of rice (source). You don’t want to use more than that until later.
But by age 3, it’s time to ramp it up. Children need to put a pea-sized amount on their bristles — but no more than that.
It’s easy for kids to get carried away when they start squeezing out their toothpaste themselves, and they may put a huge blob on the brush. But that’s way too much. To help them learn how much they should be using, you need to regulate the squeezing of the tube for a while.
Be prepared for them to overdo it for the first few days as they learn their strength. If they get too much, just scrape off the excess. Even after you think they’ve gotten the hang of it, you should still supervise to make sure they’re doing everything right.
You’ll also want to check to see that they’re spitting it out properly.
After they spit it out, it’s fine to give them a sip of water so they can swish it around their mouth and spit it out again.
You should never give them water until after they spit the first round out though, it makes it too easy for them to swallow the toothpaste and water mixture accidentally. It’s best to get the majority of the toothpaste out of their mouth first before you give any water, just in case.
The Best Toddler Toothpastes of 2019
The good habits you teach your little one now can serve them for the rest of their lives. It can be a bit of a drama to brush teeth at first, but it’s worth pushing through to make sure your child learns to embrace this part of the day. And the right children’s toothpaste will go a long way in helping them master it all.
1. Tom’s of Main Toddlers Natural Toothpaste
Best Gluten Free Toothpaste
Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a tube of toothpaste? If you have and were left wondering why so many strange chemicals were included, you might be inclined to look for something a little less artificial. Seek out an all-natural formula particularly if your child is sensitive to an ingredient, such as gluten.
This type of toothpaste will please parents who are seeking natural products because it doesn’t contain fluoride, SLS, gluten or artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
Moms who worry about the ill effects of swallowing toothpaste will be relieved to know that their baby will be perfectly safe if they end up swallowing this. As a bonus, it isn’t tested on animals.
It’s a great starter toothpaste to help kids get the hang of brushing and spitting before introducing fluoride.
The dispensing top on the container helps contain messes so you won’t have to scrape half the tube off your counter.
And while it seems weird, toddlers can have foul-smelling mouths in the morning. Even though this is a fruit flavor, it helps get rid of the stench effectively.
- It’s a good option for kids who’ve rejected other brands.
- It isn’t harmful if swallowed.
- Doesn’t contain gluten.
- Some parents said their kids hated the flavor.
- It’s a little pricey.
2. Jack N’ Jill Natural Organic Toothpaste
Best Organic Toothpaste
It may seem like such a tiny thing to worry about, but consider that toothpaste is something that your child will be putting into their mouths twice every day. If safe and natural products are important to you, you'll be glad to hear that there are many organic options out there.
This has several organic ingredients, which is important to parents who worry about things like herbicides and pesticides being used to make baby products.
For this toothpaste, all natural ingredients are used so it’s safe to swallow without fear that it’ll damage your child’s health. There aren’t any preservatives, added color or fluoride. You can tell that no artificial color has been used because this product is clear.
The tube uses a fliptop container, which is easy for kids to control. It’s also a good choice for moms who have had screw-on caps go missing in the past when their kids get hold of them.
This even contains organic calendula which soothes gums if your child pokes them too much with their toothbrush, or if they are teething.
- It’s safe to swallow.
- You can tell with one look there is no added color.
- The calendula may take some of the sting out of teething.
- It’s expensive.
- It can be hard to see on the toothbrush because it’s clear.
3. Orajel My Little Pony Fluoride Toothpaste
Best Flavored Toothpaste
Of course, you want something that will actually clean and protect your children's teeth. But at the same time, you want toothpaste that's enticing enough that they'll agree to put it in their mouth's in the first place. Here, a flavored product is your best bet.
The fluoride in this brand will help protect your child’s teeth from cavities, which is of great relief to moms who are worried about their kid damaging their teeth and going through the pain and expense of getting cavities fixed.
This should appeal to both little boys and girls because of the My Little Pony theme, which has been a popular kids’ cartoon for generations. Seeing those characters on the tube will make this much more exciting for children. Plus, when they finally stop looking at the tube and starting brushing, they’ll get a fruit flavor that seems to be a crowd pleaser.
The kids should also like the pretty blue color and parents will like the fact that it cleans teeth well.
- It’s affordable.
- The fluoride will protect your child’s teeth.
- The flavor is great.
- The hole the toothpaste comes out of is big so it is a little harder to control the amount.
- Toxic if swallowed in large amounts — which might happen if kids are tempted to eat it.
4. Aquafresh Kids Pump Cavity Protection Toothpaste
Best Pump Dispenser
Getting toothpaste out of a messy, mangled tube is enough to fray anyone's nerves. If you've got clumsy kid fingers to deal with and your little one hasn't quite mastered squeezing the tube yet, you might consider making it easy for them and getting a pump container instead.
This option has teeth-strengthening fluoride that dentists recommend to give your child’s teeth a better chance of staying cavity free. Because it has the same amount of fluoride as an adult toothpaste, you can use this yourself if you don’t want two different tubes on your counter.
Kids won’t care about the protection aspect, but they will like the fresh bubble mint flavor — a refreshing bubblegum with just a hint of mint.
The pump stands up, which will keep toothpaste off your bathroom counter. All moms will appreciate that they have less cleaning to do, and you won’t have a squashed, gunky tube with the cap gummed on.
Plus, your child will be able to use the pump with ease because it doesn’t require as much dexterity as unscrewing a cap does.
Moms who are on a tight budget will love that this isn’t expensive.
- It’s affordable.
- The dispenser is easy to use and takes up less space on your counter.
- It won’t mess all over your counter since it’s upright.
- Some small kids might not like the mint flavor.
- A few parents said the container takes more force to operate after a while, and can tip over easily.
5. NOW XyliWhite Bubblegum Splash Toothpaste Gel
Best Gentle Toothpaste
As adults, we've come to associate the cool tang of peppermint with cleanliness. But for kids, mint burns, and the texture of toothpaste in the mouth can be unpleasant for them. A softer gel formulation with a milder flavor might convince picky kids to brush for longer.
This toothpaste will give your toddler a gentle clean that their sensitive teeth will appreciate. There are few things worse as a parent than seeing something that’s supposed to protect your child cause them pain. But sensitive teeth are painful for an adult to deal with — let alone a kid.
This doesn’t contain gluten and it’s sweetened naturally, which is good news for parents who are concerned about their child’s sugar intake.
It contains no fluoride or sodium lauryl sulfate either, which are two additives some parents don’t like to see, especially when their babies are still young and their spitting skills are iffy.
The bubblegum flavor is usually a big crowd pleaser. And as long as their children are happy with the flavor, moms will be too — anything that gets our children brushing is okay by us.
- It’s affordable.
- Parents swear by the cavity protection this offers.
- There’s no sugar in it.
- It’s hard to push out of the dispenser when it gets to be about half empty.
- It’s a fairly thin consistency, which makes it a bit messy.