Parent teaching children to brush their teeth properly.

At What Age Can My Child Start Using Fluoride Toothpaste?

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A common question we often hear from parents at their child’s appointment is “when can my child switch to a fluoride toothpaste?” A general rule of thumb is when your child is 6 years old, which is usually when they are old enough to spit properly. Fluoride toothpaste should never be swallowed. Since brushing should begin as soon as the first tooth comes in, there is no rush to switch from children’s toothpaste to regular toothpaste. If you are concerned, speak with your child’s general dentist about the best oral health routine for your child’s unique needs. In most cases, they will usually recommend a fluoride treatment after their cleaning every 6 months.


It’s Never Too Early To Start Good Brushing Habits for Kids


  • Begin brushing your child’s gums even before their 1st tooth erupts. This will help them get used to the feeling and can also be comforting while teething. 


  • Once their first teeth have erupted, avoid placing your child to bed with a bottle or pacifier. This will help to avoid bottle rot, which can occur if milk, formula, or juice is allowed to sit on their teeth overnight. 


  • Once your child reaches the age of 2-5 years old, apply a pea-sized dollop of fluoride-free toothpaste on a children’s size toothbrush. Make it a fun family event and join in on the brushing. This will make it a bonding moment AND you get to fit in an extra brushing as well! 


  • Teach them how to spit so they know they shouldn’t swallow the toothpaste. This will prepare them for when they can switch to fluoride toothpaste. 


  • Add to their daily schedule brushing their teeth 2 times a day and floss at least once daily. Even chewing sugar-free gum after meals can help reduce tooth decay. Healthy teeth and gums not only help their teeth look their best but will also lead to better overall health. 


  • Schedule their routine checkups every 6 months with their pediatric dentist. 


  • At age 7, schedule their first pediatric orthodontic exam as well. Some orthodontic issues may not be visible yet but your orthodontist will be able to catch any concerns early on to avoid more extensive treatment. 


These tips will help your child have the best chance of a healthy smile! Teaching children to correctly care for their teeth is an important lesson that will extend throughout their lifetime. If the time comes that they need orthodontic care, they will already have a good oral health care routine in place! At any time, if you have questions about your child’s oral health, give us a call. We will be happy to schedule an appointment and address all your concerns.