Do Kids Need Fluoride?

Is Fluoride Toothpaste Good for My Child?

Even though baby teeth are temporary, young children should be taught about regular brushing as this will help them maintain a good oral hygiene and provide a healthy background for the permanent adult  teeth. 

The first baby teeth usually start to appear during the first year of the baby’s life and when they come in you can use a special baby toothbrush with a small soft head to clean the child’s teeth once or twice a day. It’s not always easy to establish a brushing routine with very young children, but parents must never give up.

With regular brushing bacteria are eliminated and when the baby teeth fall out the risk of bacteria affecting the emerging permanent teeth is reduced. However, the question parents most frequently ask is if the use of fluoride toothpaste is suitable for their child.

Why Do Most Toothpastes Use Fluoride?

Clinical studies have shown that the use of fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwashes can strengthen the enamel of the teeth, prevent harmful bacteria from accumulating, and repair existing damages by remineralising the teeth and reversing the first signs of tooth decay.

That is the reason why most toothpaste brands use fluoride in their formula, while drinking water is fluoridated in several countries round the world, such as the USA, the UK and Australia.  When fluoride is ingested, it is believed to reinforce the enamel of the teethand prevent cavities and tooth decay.


Both pediatricians and dentists agree that even though fluoride is an excellent protection against tooth decay for children’s teeth, fluoride toothpaste must be used after the age of two or three. This is because toddlers are rarely capable of spitting out all of the toothpaste and swallowing a certain amount of fluoride every day is not considered safe for a very young child.

By the age of four or five, when children are fairly accustomed to brushing, spitting out and rinsing their mouth effectively, a small “pea size” amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used under the supervision of the parents.

However, if you do not have access to fluoridated water, you may need to use a special, low-fluoride toothpaste for children up to the age of 4 or 5, but you can always consult with your dentist for suggestions and advice regarding the safe use of fluoride toothpaste.

How to Choose Toothpaste for Your Child

It is very important to choose a quality children’s toothpaste that is approved by the ADA or the EDA – (American/European Dental Association), and one that is marketed by a reputable company.

For children under the age of 3, choose a toothpaste that does not contain any artificial colours, saccharine or preservatives. You can find toothpastes that contain 100% natural and organic ingredients which reduces parents’ worries in case the child swallows it.

Also, try using different tastes until you find the one that motivates your child to brush their teeth happily.  Fruit tastes like strawberry and watermelon are well-liked by most children and you can find toothpastes that contain real fruit juice.

However, always remember to store the toothpaste in a safe place, because if your child likes its taste, he/she may be tempted to eat it!

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