When it comes to cleaning your teeth, I talk a lot about how to avoid popular fads. These gimmicks can even extend to toothpaste itself. A lot of parents buy toothpaste for their children which is specifically marketed as a children’s paste – sometimes there are even pink and blue versions of the same one, as if boys and girls need or even want different colours! Parents often think that buying one of these children’s toothpaste is the best choice they can make. Unfortunately, these children’s toothpastes tend to be hugely more expensive than ‘normal’ toothpaste. This may put parents off altogether. None of us likes to feel we are being ripped off, especially when we are trying to do the right thing.
There’s no doubt that some toothpaste does have a very strong minty flavour and some children may not like the taste. It’s definitely worth trying a few to find a more mild tasting one that young children may prefer. Regardless of the flavour, make sure it contains fluoride and that it’s at a high enough level to be of real benefit. Always check the packaging to see how much fluoride it contains. A good quality toothpaste should have at least 1350 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride.
What is fluoride?
Dental health is massively improved to what it was forty years ago, mainly thanks to fluoride being added to toothpaste. Fluoride is a natural mineral, which is proven to help re-mineralise and strengthen tooth enamel. The stronger your tooth enamel, the more resistant it is to decay. Fluoride is found in some foods such as spinach, cucumber, carrots and jacket potatoes. Using it in a toothpaste means it can be applied directly to the surface of your teeth. The longer it stays in contact with your teeth the better, which is why I always tell my patients not to rinse after brushing to give the fluoride longer to work.
By all means choose a toothpaste that children like the flavour of but save your money and buy a fluoride toothpaste that is suitable for the whole family. Babies and toddlers under the age of three just need to use a smear of toothpaste while older children just need a pea-sized amount. Supervise children under the age of seven when they brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day – once just before they go to bed. See more tips here on how to inspire good brushing habits.
In addition to using an appropriate fluoride toothpaste, remember that children need regular dental check-ups, just like adults. Revive Dental Care welcomes new NHS patients to join us at our practices in Monton, Davyhulme, Bexley Square Salford and Ancoats. We also welcome patients looking for cosmetic or aesthetic dental treatments.