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The best toothpaste for kids

It can be hard to get your kids to brush their teeth, but once you find the right toothpaste, things get a little easier. Our top pick for the best kids' toothpaste is the Silly Strawberry Toothpaste by Tom's of Maine because it's all natural, effective, and appealing to kids.

We know that maintaining good dental hygiene is paramount in preventing tooth decay and other yucky oral conditions, but convincing a young’un to commit to a twice-a-day brushing habit can be even harder than forcing yourself to cleanse and floss before you fall facedown into bed at night. That’s why choosing a kids’ toothpaste that checks all the necessary boxes is key to managing your family’s oral health. The perfect kids’ toothpaste for your family should taste pleasant enough that your mini-me wants to brush while using safe and healthy ingredients to offer stellar cleaning power.

The best toothpaste for kids overall

Why you'll love it: With a sweet but mild fruity flavor, natural ingredients, and powerful cleaning capacity, your kid will be happy with Tom's Natural Toothpaste in Silly Strawberry.
Is it possible to strike a workable balance between health, great taste, and killer cleaning power in a toothpaste made for kids? Tom’s of Maine says yes, and so does my daughter (not to mention hundreds of reviewers on Amazon). Tom's Silly Strawberry toothpaste was the very first dental hygiene product my daughter ever used, and though we’ve tested tons more, we keep coming back to it.
The tingly feeling you get from most minty toothpaste can be too strong or “spicy” for kids, and my daughter is no exception. Instead, she loves the little hint of strawberry in Tom's toothpaste. It’s gently sweetened with natural flavor but isn’t so candy-like that it would make her want to swallow too much, which is a no-no.
As one five-star reviewer on Amazon even says, “My sensitive child with autism finds it pleasant and she doesn't fight me when I give her this toothpaste… [even though] she doesn't like [other] kids’ toothpastes or mint toothpastes.”
Many moms have said that this is the only toothpaste their kids will use. However, some reviewers noted that their kids didn’t like the subtle strawberry taste and needed something a bit bolder and sweeter to seduce them to brush.
Personally, I love the lack of harsh dyes and nasty chemicals. Although the ingredients are certified 100% all-natural, the toothpaste does list hydrated silica (a mild abrasive) as an ingredient, which some people find controversial. Tom’s of Maine explains why it thinks hydrated silica is safe on its website.
The current guidelines from the American Dental Association recommend using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste for kids over two, and just a little smidge on the toothbrush for infants under 24-months, since they typically can’t spit it out at that age. So, although the Tom’s of Maine brand offers an option sans fluoride, our pick is the kind that does contain the classic cavity-fighting ingredient and is therefore approved by the ADA.
And finally, Tom’s of Maine partnered up with acclaimed children’s musician, Laurie Berkner, to create a catchy two-minute song designed to help kids brush for the right amount of time. You can play the song here on YouTube.

Pros: All natural, subtly sweet taste with proven cleaning power, ADA approved

Cons: The flavor is too subtle for some

Buy Tom's Silly Strawberry Toothpaste on Amazon Prime Pantry for $2.99

The best toothpaste for reluctant brushers

Why you'll love it: GUM Crayola Squeeze-A-Color Toothpaste is the solution for kids who hate to brush with its fun shape, colors, and yummy flavors.
Lots of brands use tricks like bright colors and fruit or candy flavors to entice kids to brush. But this ingenious partnership between GUM and Crayola comes to your child’s bathroom looking like an enticing box of crayons. Inside, your kiddo will find three small crayon-shaped tubes in red (melon blast flavor), blue (blueberry burst), and green (jazzy apple). They can pick one flavor, or mix all three by “drawing” the paste onto their brush.

If you have a really young kid going through the phase of wanting to do every last thing all by themselves, the tiny opening for teensy hands actually results in less mess and waste than a typical tube would when squeezed by an overzealous toddler.

Some parents have said that they’re afraid the bright colors dye their little one’s teeth, but none of the listed ingredients are known to stain a tooth’s surface. Older children may be put-off by the gimmick and some say the toothpaste is too intense and sugary.

The toothpaste also contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which is an ingredient in lots of personal care products but some worry that it may be harmful. If you’re at your wits end with an unwilling brusher, do yourself a favor and grab a box.

Pros: The emphasis on fun and whimsy will trick the most reluctant kiddo into brushing

Cons: Contains sodium lauryl sulfate

Buy GUM Crayola Squeeze-A-Color Toothpaste on Amazon for $4.97

The best toothpaste for kids with braces

Why you'll love it: The Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper for Kids is tough on yucky stuff, but gentle on teeth, gums, and orthodontics.
Kids and teens with braces may not absolutely need a specialized toothpaste, but if you’re a mom or dad who loves to do the most, here’s one that helps address some of the common woes of a kid with orthodontics. While formulated to work well on any kid’s teeth, The Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper for Kids will especially appeal to those with problems caused by their hardware.
Depending on the type of braces or retainer your kid wears, they might have concerns like extra sensitivity, canker sores, painful gums from rubbing or poking, and of course, lots of food getting stuck in hard to reach places. Soothing ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil calm painful spots, while plant-based flavoring and polishing agents taste great and clean nooks and crannies gently.
The toothpaste also contains .24% sodium fluoride, which is a powerhouse tool to prevent cavities that might be caused by bacteria getting stuck in between tight spots.

With 72% of Amazon reviewers giving this toothpaste a full five stars, there’s lots to like about the grape and berry flavors, though not everyone was a fan of the taste. A major plus is the lack of sodium lauryl sulfate, which is commonly found in personal care products, but potentially irritating to the gums.

Pros: Contains gentle, soothing ingredients that work, fluoride

Cons: Hard to find

Buy the Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper for Kids on Amazon for $5.81

The best toothpaste for cavity-prone kids

Why you'll love it: Aquafresh Kids Cavity Protection toothpaste in Bubble Mint comes in a no-mess pump bottle and has a foamy texture that coats every surface of your kid’s teeth.

You might expect that bubble gum and mint wouldn’t go together well as a flavor, but in actuality, it’s weirdly appealing. The taste of Aquafresh's kids' toothpaste reminded me of those powdery soft after-dinner mints that used to be popular decades ago.

Everyone has their preferences, though, and if you have a precocious child who just can’t wait to be a grown-up doing everything themselves, this crossover flavor between childish bubble gum and all-adult mint will appeal to them, as will the easy-to-use pump that parents say is wonderful for DIY brushing without a mess.

The pump is fun to squeeze and doesn’t force little fingers to fiddle with a screw-on cap in order to stay fresh. That also means extra paste won’t leak out onto your bathroom counter if someone leaves the cap off. Plus, maybe it’s just me, but there’s something so nostalgic about Aquafresh’s signature red, white, and blue tri-color pattern. Of course, that comes from artificial dyes, which not everyone loves. Still, it reminds me of the eighties just looking at it.

The combination of a healthy dose of fluoride and natural calcium mixed with its gel-to-foam texture that gets in nooks and crannies, makes this toothpaste a great choice for kids who struggle with frequent cavities. The flip side of the foaming action is that it’s caused by the addition of sodium lauryl sulfate in the recipe, which is cause for concern if you want to use totally green products with no chemical irritants.

This is the most affordable kids’ toothpaste in the bunch, however, as all natural cleaners tend to cost more.

Pros: Inexpensive, great cavity-fighter, less mess

Cons: Contains a controversial ingredient or two, so you’ll have to make a personal choice

Buy Aquafresh Kids Cavity Protection in Bubble Mint on Target for $2.09

The best non-fluoride kids’ toothpaste

Why you'll love it: Kiss My Face Kids Fluoride Free Toothpaste in Berry Smart contains strong yet gentle ingredients.

Let me reiterate that while fluoride was once considered a no-no for kids under two because they tend to swallow their toothpaste instead of spit, the ADA recommendations have changed, and now say that fluoridated toothpaste is the best option for all ages (just put a little less on an infant’s brush).

Still, you’re in charge of your family’s welfare, and if you have a toddler who goes nuts trying to suck sweet toothpastes right off the brush, then the Kiss My Face Kids Fluoride Free Toothpaste in Berry Smart is a terrific non-fluoride option.

Kiss My Face is a trusted name in natural family care products and it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the ingredients in this green toothpaste are incredibly gentle, non-toxic, and safe to swallow.

In addition to natural flavors, this paste gets its taste from Xylitol, a natural sweetener and alternative cleaning agent, which is important if you’re not getting the anti-cavity power of fluoride.

There are other comparable ultra-natural options, but they tend to be more expensive or harder to find. This Kiss My Face toothpaste is more expensive than some of the mainstream brands on our list at about seven dollars on Amazon, but it's still a decent price.

Pros: An extra natural, gentle product, nice berry flavor

Cons: Won’t provide the same cavity-fighting power as fluoride, more expensive

Buy Kiss My Face Kids Fluoride Free Toothpaste in Berry Smart on Amazon for $7.06

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