Children & What to Put on Their Toothbrushes?
Parents of babies and young children frequently ask which toothpaste they should use for them?
However, using toothpaste can be more trouble and mess that it is worth. In fact, toothpaste isn’t actually essential for protecting teeth from cavities – but a healthy diet, nutrients and brushing are.
How to Brush Baby’s Teeth
Once your baby starts to develop one or two teeth, you can start to brush them twice a day for two minutes at a time.
- Wet a soft-sided, natural fiber toothbrush with a little bit of water.
- Gently brush all sides of teeth—front, back and sides. No toothpaste is necessary nor recommended until age two.
- Carefully massage gums around teeth with the toothbrush or a damp cloth.
Before the baby has teeth, there is no need for a brush—a soft cloth (or even a clean finger!) will do. Once the teeth come in, a toothbrush is best. You can opt for a finger brush (one made out of food-grade silicone.) Always choose a brush with a very small soft brush head, designed for babies.
How to Prevent Cavities Naturally
There are plenty of ways to do this. Your baby or child should:
- Eat a real food diet. Sugar and refined carbohydrates contribute to tooth decay.
- Keep snacking to a minimum. Each time food is consumed, acid levels in the mouth increase which can promote tooth decay.
- Cell salts. Teeth need minerals to be strong and decay-free. One suggestion is a broad-spectrum cell salt supplement which can help to support good oral health.
- Cod liver oil. This old fashioned remedy is a medicinal fat high in vitamins A and D, helping to ward off dental decay.
Though signs of tooth decay can vary from person to person and child to child, here are some things to look out for:
- White spots mean enamel is starting to break down.
- Light brown color which can indicate an early cavity.
- Dark brown or black color which can indicate a more progressed cavity.
- Pain in or around the tooth.
- Sensitivity to food especially hot or cold food or beverages.
Toothpaste can have a place
This is because it can make brushing teeth more fun, it can encourage children to brush their teeth in the first place, it can help to instill good hygiene habits and it can help to freshen breath.
But it should not be regular toothpaste.
Children don’t develop the ability to ‘spit’ until they are about three years old, meaning they ingest whatever chemicals are in that regular toothpaste.
Even toothpastes labelled as ‘all natural’ can contain ingredients that are actually harmful to oral health.
Common ingredients in toothpaste which should be avoided
1. Fluoride is top of the list. Whatever toothpaste you decide on for anyone in your family, make sure it’s fluoride free. Unfortunately, many still think that fluoride is necessary to prevent decay. When fluoride is swallowed, it is toxic to the developing brain. You definitely want to avoid the risk of a neurotoxin and fluorosis.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This is a very common ingredient in toothpaste but is a strong detergent that has been known to induce allergic-like reactions as well as cold and canker sores. There is absolutely no need for a baby’s delicate and developing oral environment to have to cope with harsh chemicals such as these. And of course the same goes for young children.
3. Triclosan. This is another ingredient which might cause hormonal disruptions and antibiotic resistance.
3. Essential Oils. Although we love essential oils, they are NOT a suitable ingredient for children’s toothpaste. The problem is that they act as an antibacterial agent and of course babies actually need diverse bacteria to build their oral microbiome to prevent decay.
What to use in place of regular toothpaste?
Once your baby is two years old, a drop of coconut oil is the perfect solution or some natural sea salt. As coconut oil hardens at cold temperatures, spitting out the coconut oil into the sink could clog your drains if rinsed with cold water. Spit into the trash can or rinse with warm water.
Rinse the toothbrush itself with hot tap water after each use to get rid of toothpaste, food and other debris that might remain on the brush. Regularly fill a clean glass with undiluted white vinegar and place the toothbrush in so the bristles are completely covered – for a couple of hours. Vinegar will kill most bacteria and germs on the toothbrush.