How to choose a toothpaste for children up to 3 years of age
Dentists agree that small children as early as a year old should learn how to properly brush their teeth. Intact milk teeth are the key to a healthy set of teeth. The problem however lies in the fact that small children can not spit and often eat up to 60% of toothpaste that he uses to brush his teeth. Ingredients contained in the toothpaste are designed to protect the teeth but can severely harm a child’s body. Therefore, children need special toothpaste which are entirely different from adults. This is not determined from the size of the tube and the prefix in the brand that says «Kids», but also the composition of the toothpaste as well. For example, the abrasiveness of products for kids are much lower, they contain less fluorine (if not contain it), they must not contain strong bleaching ingredients or additives such as triclosan. On the other hand, the kiddie toothpaste should ensure gentle but efficient cleaning of the teeth.
- Information on the tube pasta
- Doctor´s advice regarding the ideal toothpaste based on your baby’s oral health
- Visual inspection. Typically, manufacturers of children´s toothpastes do not skimp on the design of the tube – they are always bright and colorful. Even the pictures on the tube should form a positive idea on how to clean baby’s teeth.
- Abrasives. A very common components that make up toothpaste which may be calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate. In simple terms may be called chalk and soda. These substances are quite aggressive and can damage tooth enamel. Therefore it is better not to buy products with these ingredients. If you wish to use this kind of product however, you may look for toothpastes with titanium dioxide or silicon dioxide. They are much less damaging to the enamel. The general rule is – gel creamy paste is always better.
- Fluoride. This is the main issue that face parents when choosing children’s toothpaste; should you choose products with or without fluoride? Opinions of dentists in this matter is very ambiguous. Some dentists do not recommend using flouride since it is toxic to small children (it can affect a child´s esophagus, it can also cause the development of dental fluorosis, or cause hypothyroidism). On the other hand, fluorine is a substance that can reliably protect teeth from decay. It adds a protective layer which prevents the penetration of bacteria under the enamel. If the paste does contain a small amount of fluorine, it should be in organic form – olaflyur or amino. Toothpaste with fluoride are recommended to kids who live in areas with a low content of this element in drinking water.
- Antibacterial components. In adult toothpastes you will always find triclosan, metronidazole or chlorhexidine. The problem is that along with the harmful bacteria, they can also kill useful bacteria. As a result, violation of the microflora of the mouth occurs. Adults may not be affected but children may soon suffer from different infections of the oral cavity. Therefore, to use such toothpastes with these ingredients for cleaning baby teeth must only be done under medical supervision. Dentists may prescribe such toothpastes when your child has gingivitis, periodontitis, stomatitis, etc. If there are no medical conditions, choose a toothpaste without antibacterial agents. For bleeding gums you may use toothpastes with natural ingredients like lemon balm, chamomile, propolis. It may also help if vitamins A and E are found in toothpaste.
- Foaming. The transformation of toothpaste into foam in the mouth is needed to ensure a uniform texture and complete coverage of the mouth. In almost all toothpaste brands sodium lauryl sulfate is added. Often, this substance can cause dryness of the mouth and even cause an allergic reaction. If adverse symptoms appear, stop using the brand and discard the product. You may use a less aggressive sodium laureth sulfate instead.
- Binders. You can never find toothpastes without binders. These may also be called thickeners. They can be either be synthetic or natural. Chemical thickeners (cellulose derivatives, acrylic acid) can be toxic to a child´s body. If your child is hypersensitive, you may use toothpaste containing organic binders where resins are derived from algae, trees and plants.
- Preservatives. Toothpastes need preservatives so they can have a longer shelf life. Sodium benzoate, propylene glycol, propylparaben are the most common preservatives which can cause allergic reactions. To prevent drying of the paste, sorbitol is added. This substance possesses laxative effects.
- Nutrients. The most common nutrients that are found in children´s toothpaste, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme and glucose oxide. These nutrients are mostly found in milk which can help improve the health of the child. Also good if the toothpaste has natural protein casein, it will help in the accumulation of calcium in the enamel layers.
- Taste fillers. Food additives in toothpastes are mostly used to remove the effect of the unpleasant taste of certain substances in the composition. Indeed, because of nasty taste, a child may refuse to brush using the product. For these purposes, menthol, different varieties of mint, eucalyptus, vanilla and sweeteners such as saccharin are used. These however do not stimulate the development of caries. Please note that excessive use of peppermint supplements can affect the baby’s gag reflex. If the taste will be far too delicious, the child will constantly fight the urge to eat it.
- Often manufacturers of children´s toothpaste try to capture the interest of kids on their products through small gifts, accompanied by a small tube of toothpaste toys, coloring books or stationery. Of course, your child is happy to get an extra surprise, but these things should not be the most important factor in choosing the right toothpaste.
- It is recommended to brush your child’s teeth at least once a day until the age of 2.5-3 years, and after that – twice a day.
- If the toothpaste is disliked by your child, do no force him to use it. Just buy another toothpaste; perhaps the taste of the toothpaste may influence your baby’s interest in brushing his teeth.
- In addition to standard tubes of toothpaste for children, these are also available in sachets. Sachet calculated to use onetime, parents do not have to puzzle over the amount of paste needed for a brushing. In addition these are also very easy to carry.
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