When Is The Right Time For Your Kid To Switch Over To Regular Toothpaste?

A dentist with her kid patient

Toothbrushing is one of the most vital skills that is taught to children early in life. Proper brushing is essential for ensuring the teeth are clean and free of plaque, which can lead to oral health issues. 

When children are very small, they need to be monitored for proper brushing techniques. When children are first learning how to brush, some parents use fluoride-free toothpaste, to minimize the swallowing of this mineral. 

Knowing when to switch over to regular toothpaste is important.

Toothbrushing Should Begin Early

Once a child’s first tooth erupts, it is time to find a Dentist For Kids. Many parents wonder when they should begin brushing their child’s teeth. 

Although it is important to start when a child first cuts a tooth, oral hygiene care should begin well before this time. 

Gently wiping the child’s gums with a soft, wet washcloth can help babies to grow accustomed to oral care practices. Cleaning the gums will also help to protect the growing teeth beneath.

In the beginning, the brushing process is not very involved because the child’s teeth are not touching. It is important to use a soft brush and a gentle brushing action. 

Brushing too hard can cause tooth and gum irritation.

What Kind of Toothpaste Should Be Used?

The ADA once recommended children use fluoride-free toothpaste up until the age of two. Swallowing fluoride is not recommended. Since children are not always careful with brushing, dentists were concerned fluoride toothpaste could be dangerous.

Today, dentists recommend using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste from the very beginning. When a child is very small, parents should use a small amount of toothpaste, no larger than a grain of rice. 

Doing so will help to minimize the swallowing of fluoride. This amount should be used until a child has the ability to spit. Typically, this occurs around the age of three.

When choosing any toothpaste for a small child, it is essential to choose one that is kid-friendly. Make sure the toothpaste has the ADA seal. 

Parents who are concerned about their child’s toothpaste should talk with the dentist to ensure the right one is used.

Child and mother brushing teeth together

Should Parents Assist Their Child with Brushing?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Parents need to supervise and assist with toothbrushing until a child can demonstrate they are performing the steps correctly. Each child is different. 

For most children, this will mean supervision at least until the age of six.

In the beginning, parents and children can take turns brushing, since two minutes may seem like a long time to the child. As the child grows older, children can simply be supervised, brushing their teeth themselves.


Tooth brushing is a big deal and needs to include regular toothpaste, for the best results. In addition to brushing and flossing twice a day, children need to see the dentist regularly. With supervision, using regular toothpaste is safe for children.

Getting kids excited about tooth care from a very young age will help to keep them on task as they grow older. There are now so many kid-friendly toothbrushes and kinds of toothpaste on the market that allow kids to have fun while they are brushing. 

When in doubt, parents should speak with their child’s dentist, to ensure the right oral hygiene products are being utilized correctly.

Last Updated on April 26, 2021

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