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What's the Best Toothpaste to Get Kids to Brush Their Teeth?

Parents can help make brushing fun!

Every child deserves a healthy smile, but how do you get children to brush their teeth regularly? The trick is to make tooth brushing time a pleasant experience. With positive reinforcement, children will be more likely to develop healthy brushing habits that will carry into adulthood.

Most parents agree: it's difficult to get their children interested in doing a proper job of brushing their teeth.  A great way to make tooth brushing time more enjoyable is to purchase kid-approved dental products, such as character-inspired tooth brushes and mouthwashes that turn plaque a "gross" color so that kids will want to brush more to remove it. Another way to get your child into brushing his or her teeth is by purchasing a brand of toothpaste that your child loves.

What can make toothpaste appealing to children? For some kids, it's the packaging: many children's toothpastes come in tubes or containers that are brightly colored and feature some of kids' favorite cartoon characters.  Some children may not be fans of traditional, mint-flavored toothpaste, which may create a burning sensation in their delicate mouths.  In these cases, parents have a wide variety of kid-friendly flavors to choose from, as most toothpaste companies have developed special lines of products that are aimed specifically towards children.

In truth, the best toothpaste for kids is the one your child will use.  If your child hates the toothpaste you have in the house, he or she is less likely to do a thorough job brushing or brush at all.  The trick is to make tooth brushing time a pleasant experience so that children will be more likely to develop strong oral hygiene habits that will carry them into adulthood. 

It's not enough to buy the gimmicky products designed to help get kids brushing: parents have to take the time to impress upon children the importance of dental hygiene.  Make sure your child brushes at least twice a day, and supervise younger children to ensure they are doing a thorough job and not swallowing any toothpaste. With children, it is also important to lead by example. If you brush your teeth every time your kids do, they will take brushing much more seriously. In addition to regular brushing, it is crucial that children visit their dentist regularly. A dentist will be able to identify signs of trouble as well as recognize if your child is missing certain areas of their mouth when brushing.

The American Dental Association (ADA) does not endorse or recommend specific toothpaste products as being better than others, but it does add its seal of approval to acceptable dental products.  For a complete list of products approved by the ADA, visit www.ada.org.

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