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.
  • To find the best kids’ toothpaste, we consulted a pediatric dentist, reviewed American Dental Association recommendations, and tested products.
  • Our top pick for the best kids’ toothpaste is Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry Toothpaste because it’s all natural, effective, and appealing to kids.

Going under the dental drill is no one’s idea of a good time. I wouldn’t wish a cavity on the most annoying telemarketer, let alone my kid.

We know that maintaining good dental hygiene is paramount in preventing tooth decay and other yucky oral conditions, but convincing a child 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.

We did the research, interviewed a pediatric dentist, reviewed the current pediatric dentistry recommendations, and even tested top brands on both my daughter and myself. Here are our top picks for the best kids’ toothpaste you can buy.

Here is the best toothpaste for kids:

Updated 10/21/2019 by Lisa Sabatini: Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added related guides. We are currently testing new products, so we’ll update this guide soon.


The best toothpaste for kids overall

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Tom’s of Maine

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.

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.

Our family’s pediatric dentist recommended we go for it starting at my tiny one’s very first tooth, especially since we live in Portland, Oregon, where our public water is non-fluoridated.

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


The best toothpaste for kids with braces

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The Natural Dentist

The Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper for Kids is tough on yucky stuff, but gentle on teeth, gums, and orthodontics.

Kids, tweens, 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 70% 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 harmful.

Pros: Contains gentle, soothing ingredients that work, fluoride

Cons: Hard to find


The best toothpaste for cavity-prone kids

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Aquafresh

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. My daughter liked it, too, but still prefers her strawberry Tom’s of Maine.

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


The best non-fluoride toothpaste for kids

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Kiss My Face

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 toothpaste 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. I spoke with Dr. Staci Whitman, a board-certified pediatric dentist and co-owner of World of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Portland, Oregon, who told me that this is her top recommendation for non-fluoride toothpaste.

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. Dr. Whitman also said that both her own daughters use this brand and flavor, but she chooses the version that does have 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


Check out our other great kids’ personal-care products guides

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Amazon

The best toothbrushes for kids

The earlier you instill good oral hygiene habits in your kids, the easier it will be for the children to take over their own proper oral care once they’re old enough. Different ages and stages of development call for different types of toothbrush, so make sure you are always using the right kind of toothbrush for your child’s mouth.

Here are the best toothbrushes for kids:

Best kids’ toothbrush overall: RADIUS Totz Plus Toothbrush

Best toothbrush for babies: The Brushies Baby and Toddler Toothbrush

Best toothbrush for toddlers: Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether

Best transition toothbrush: Fridababy SmileFrida Toothhugger 3-Sided Toothbrush

Best electric kids’ toothbrush: Philips Sonicare Bluetooth Connected Toothbrush

The best shampoo for toddlers

Toddler hair can be thick, soft, curly, or unruly – kind of like toddlers themselves. You need a gentle shampoo that’s easy on the hair and ideally helps to make bath time easier – or at least as easy as it can get with young kids.

Here are the best shampoos for toddlers: