How do I get my child to brush his teeth with floride toothpaste?

by Christy Barnes
(Jacksonville, Fl)

I have tried dozens of different toothpaste brands, types, flavors, etc. My son can't stand the smell and taste. He will brush his teeth but not with toothpaste and he needs the fluoride in the toothpaste for his teeth to stay healthy. Are there any new sensory toothpaste products or suggestions out there?

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Nov 05, 2008
Don't really need fluoride in toothpaste
by: 20 year dental pro

The fluoride in toothpaste bought on the drugstore shelf is probably inert by the time you buy it. It is worthless. I learned this in my dental training. It was thought to have worked back in the 40s-50s when Crest came out and children's dental health was becoming a priority. In fact, it was the mere brushing off of plaque that led to the decline in cavities for most kids.

Fluoride rinses are much better if you or your family need the protection it affords. Not everyone has access to fluoridated water (we don't). For my 7 year old, we often skip toothpaste and do a 'dry brush' to get the plaque off. We start with flossing (they make kid ones you can find at Target) and I let him do that himself and I touch up if needed, then brush (with or without paste) and then fluoride rinse. You can use over the counter fluoride or get some from your dentist.

DO NOT GET MINT for most kids, it is overpowering. I use one from Wal-Mart, bubblegum or fruity flavor and it has lights in the lid that stay on for the amount of time to swish for. NO drink or food after fluoride. My boy had a hard time with the aftertaste so I gave him permission to spit (usually not allowed) his heart out either into the sink or a washcloth. That got him through, now he's used to it.

Recently we've added a disclosing product for just after brushing so we can see what we missed. His is blue for boy and he finds it a fun game. It had to sit on the counter for about 6 months before he would use it though. He would open the bottle, smell it, put it back until recently he wanted to try it. Patience seems to be key.

So... you don't really need to battle over fluoride toothpaste if your child just can't stand it. Just make sure you are getting the soft plaque off with good brushing/flossing, and use a rinse if possible, and see your dentist regularly. Let them know your child has oral sensitivity issues and ask them to skip the fluoride portion of the cleaning. Both painting and tray methods are torture for kids who have these types of problems.

Jul 30, 2008
No need to use flouride
by: Dana

Hi there. We purposely use the nonflouride toothpaste for all of our kids. We learned from our MD that there is enough flouride in our water to be sufficient and that too much flouride is harmful, especially for those kids that don't detox metals/chemicals from the body naturally. This also reduces the need to spit for those kids who have trouble with that. We successfully used the orange cream flavor of Burts Bees toothpaste but it is now discontinued. We have used the Wintergreen flavor of one of the Tea Tree Oil Natural toothpaste. We are now using the Baby Oragel flouride free toddler toothpaste for my kids ages 5-8.

Some tips I learned in therapy for those who don't like to brush their may need to do other sensory techniques first before trying to desensitize the mouth. Some techniques might be the therapeutic listening/sonomas listening and Wilbarger brushing technique to desensitize the nervous system in general before getting more directly in the mouth. I don't yet know it, but there is also a fun song you can teach your kids to sing or sing for your kids while they brush their teeth that helps make it more fun for them or at least distracts them a bit while getting it done.

Hope that helps. I will pass on the song when I get it. Best wishes.

Jul 12, 2008
Toothpaste recommendation
by: Anonymous

My 4 1/2 year old son has SPD and we have A LOT of issues with food; smells, textures, tastes. I buy Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste for him. It's all natural. They sell it at Wal-Mart.

Good Luck

Jun 24, 2008
Me too!
by: Kia

We have the same problem in our house. Every day, twice, we have the toothbrushing battle. Every day, it's a fight to get our son to brush his teeth with the "big kid" toothpaste. He likes the baby stuff still, but fights us all the time on the flouride stuff. I wonder if this is a battle not quite worth fighting??? I wish I had the answers!

Jun 19, 2008
Fluoride in Toothpaste
by: Anonymous

I'm not certain you are correct in saying your son needs the fluoride in toothpaste. I mean, how much fluoride do you think his body is absorbing from 10 to 60 seconds of brushing?

I'd discuss this with your dentist and/or M.D. If there isn't sufficient natural fluoride in your water supply, and your community does not fluoridate the water, you can get fluoride tablets. I believe they come in chewable form.

My kids took fluoride tabs and had the plastic sealants applied to their teeth. Both are now grown and neither one has any cavities.

Blessings on you!
Miz Woody in the Wilds of the Midwest

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