The Best Natural Toothpaste

Skip the bright blue, sparkly, fake bubblegum flavored toothpaste and choose gentle and effective natural toothpaste for your kids. Our top 7 natural kids toothpaste picks are all fluoride and SLS free, and don’t contain any concerning ingredients. From babies to toddlers to teens, there’s a safe toothpaste option for kids of every age!

Young Girl Brushing Her Teeth in white bathrobe

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When my kids were babies, I wanted to give them an edge up on good oral hygiene right from the start. That involved wiping their gums with a damp cloth after feeding and giving them a chance to “brush their own teeth” with a silicone baby “toothbrush” teether.

My dad the dentist told me stories of kids coming to his office with rotting teeth that he had to refer to a pediatric oral surgeon. That can be a traumatic experience for any kid – prevention is the best cure when it comes to the oral health of your children.

WHEN TO START BRUSHING BABY TEETH?

  • Before the first tooth emerges, take either a damp washcloth, a piece of gauze, or a silicone finger brush and gently swipe around the gums after eating and at bedtime. This will help your baby get used to the act of brushing while also removing food particles.
  • Start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth pokes through the gums. Make sure the toothbrush you purchase has extra soft bristles and a small head that you can easily navigate around your child’s mouth.
  • First tooth eruption varies with every baby, but it can happen as early as 3 months or even before, and up to 12 months or later. Visit your dentist if you’re concerned about teeth not coming in by 18 months. All 20 baby teeth will usually come in by 3 years of age. Between 6 and 20 years of age, 32 teeth will come in as permanent teeth.

BEST PRACTICES FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS

  • Avoid baby bottle decay Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle of juice, milk or formula. These liquids all contain sugar that can coat the teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
  • Limit juice and other sugary drinks Kids don’t need juice on a regular basis – water is more than okay to sip on throughout the day.
  • Brush After Sugary Medicine I’m not saying to get your kids up in the middle of the night to brush after taking medicine, but children that take long-term sugary medication should brush after they take a dose.

HOW MUCH TOOTHPASTE SHOULD KIDS USE?

  • Birth to 3 years old: a dollop no larger than a grain of rice. Technically, babies and kids under 2 don’t need toothpaste – the act of brushing itself removes plaque and food particle build-up.
  • Age 3 and older: a pea-sized amount
  • Teens: A thin ribbon of toothpaste across the bristles

Have your kids brush for two minutes twice per day and floss once daily. Monitor children until you feel they have a good handle on how to care for their teeth on their own. My dad the dentist made up a song that he sang while we brushed our teeth, and I also used that song while my own children brushed.

There are apps and songs (BrushDJ, Disney Magic Timer, Brush Teeth With The Wiggles) that will entertain your child for 2 minutes while they brush. I’ve also attached a Youtube video at the end of this post that features 2 adorable British kids teaching other children the proper way to brush.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH FLUORIDE?

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 40% of children age 3-6 use too much toothpaste (1). Since kids at this age are most likely not spitting it all out, the toothpaste, along with the added fluoride, ends up getting accidentally ingested.
  • Ingestion of too much fluoride while teeth are developing can result in dental fluorosis (discoloration and pitting of the enamel).
  • A 2017 study in Mexico found that the offspring of women with a high prenatal fluoride exposure had lower scores on cognitive function tests between the ages of 4 and 12 years old (2).
  • According to a 2012 review that included 27 studies, children residing in areas of the country with high fluoride drinking water levels had significantly lower IQ scores than those who resided in areas of the country with lower fluoride drinking water levels (3).
  • High levels of fluoride in pregnant women can cause nervous system damage to the fetus (4).

As for whether fluoride should be in toothpaste, my dad the dentist was very pro-fluoride. It protects teeth from cavities and strengthens tooth enamel. However, as the studies above indicate, there are health issues associated with ingestion of too much fluoride. If you’re at all worried that your child may ingest a large amount of fluoride toothpaste, if you’re pregnant, or if you just want a fluoride-free toothpaste option, swap out fluoride toothpaste for toothpaste that contains hydroxyapatite.

Whatever toothpaste you decide to use for children over 3, make sure it contains either hydroxyapatite or fluoride in order to prevent cavities and strengthen tooth enamel. If you do decide to use a fluoride toothpaste for your kids, make sure they spit it all out and rinse afterward.

HYDROXYAPATITE: A SAFE FLUORIDE ALTERNATIVE

  • Hydroxyapatite is the main substance in your teeth, making up 97% of enamel and 70% of dentin. Also known as calcium phosphate, this compound is non-toxic and biocompatible (not harmful to living tissue) (5).
  • This safe fluoride alternative has been used in Japan for over 40 years. It works just as well as fluoride at preventing cavities – read more in my post about hydroxyapatite toothpaste and the scientific studies supporting its safety here.
  • Hydroxyapatite remineralizes (rebuilds) tooth structure without any known side effects (6).
  • A 2019 study found that toothpaste containing a 10% hydroxyapatite solution and toothpaste containing amine fluoride were equally effective for preventing and reversing tooth decay in children (7).
  • Toothpaste bands like Risewell and Dr. Brite offer kid-friendly hydroxyapatite toothpaste flavors, and Wellnesse has a minty option that’s perfect for teens.

INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN TOOTHPASTE

  • Triclosan– Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that’s linked to bacterial resistance and endocrine disruption.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)– this is associated with canker sores and perioral dermatitis (my daughter is susceptible to this hard-to-eradicate rash around the mouth).
  • Artificial colors– Who needs blue toothpaste if it’s linked to hyperactivity in kids?
  • Parabens– These preservatives prevent the growth of bacteria, but they disrupt hormone function and were able to stimulate breast cancer cell growth in a lab study.
  • Propylene glycol– Propylene glycol is used to make personal care products thicker and better able to transport moisture to the skin. The manufacturing process introduces impurities and by-products, such as ethylene oxides and 1,4-dioxane, which are known carcinogenic materials (8).
  • Strong Antibacterial Essential OilsAccording to Dr. Mark Burhenne, while essential oils may work to kill off some of your “bad” oral bacteria, strong essential oils may also kill off some of the beneficial bacteria in your mouth, disrupting your oral microbiome.

4 brands of natural toothpaste for babies and toddlers

Earth’s Best Toddler Toothpaste

  • Age: Suitable from 6 months to 3 years old
  • Features: Fluoride free, SLS free, Bpa-free, no phthalates, leaping bunny certified.
  • From the Earth’s Best website: Created for babies 6 months old to 3 years old, Earth’s Best® Toddler Strawberry Banana Toothpaste safely and gently cleanses delicate gums and promotes strong teeth. Our fluoride-free formula makes this toothpaste completely safe if swallowed. Contains Oat bran, Beta-Glucan and Vitamin B5.
  • Flavors: Apple & Pear
  • Earth’s Best Toddler Toothpaste ingredients: Glycerin, aqua (water), xylitol, panthenol, cellulose gum, avena sativa (oat) bran, beta-glucan, calcium lactate, flavor.

Dr. Brown’s Natural Baby Toothpaste

  • Age: Suitable for 0-3 years
  • Features: Fluoride free, SLS free, no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • From the Dr. Brown’s website: Nothing but clean teeth! No fluoride, no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. No worries if swallowed. Our Natural Baby Toothpaste is a wholesome way to help your baby learn good dental hygiene. Real strawberry flavor babies love.
  • Flavors: Strawberry, Real Pear and Apple
  • Dr. Brown’s Natural Baby Toothpaste ingredients: Glycerin, Aqua (Water), Xylitol, Propanediol, Sorbitol, Pectin, Xanthum Gum, Silica, Sorbic Acid, Aroma (Flavor), Calcium Lactate

Jack N’ Jill Natural Kids Toothpaste

  • Age: Suitable from 6 months
  • Features: Fluoride Free, SLS Free, Dairy Free, Gluten-free Vegan, Certified Cruelty-free
  • From the Jack N’ Jill website: Our Natural Toothpaste is toxin-free, gluten-free, fluoride free and SLS-free & is suitable from 6 months and safe if swallowed. Jack N’ Jill Toothpaste is available in yummy flavors to make tooth brushing fun for kids, with a delicious Certified Organic fruity flavouring. Natural ingredients such as Xylitol and Calendula help to soothe gums and fight tooth decay. Our toothpastes are a gel formula and don’t foam. Made in Australia.
  • Flavors: Berries & Cream, Bubblegum, Milkshake, Strawberry, Banana, Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackcurrant, Flavor Free
  • Jack N’ Jill Natural Kids Toothpaste ingredients: Xylitol, Purified Water, Vegetable Glycerin (Coconut derived), Silica, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate (Naturally derived), Citric Acid

Hello Fluoride Free Kids Toothpaste

  • From the Hello website: Say hello to a delish apple-flavored baby and toddler toothpaste for little ones 3 months to 2 years old. this clear gel is thoughtfully formulated with soothing aloe vera, non-gmo xylitol and erythritol, and natural apple flavoring. hello toddler training toothpaste keeps new teeth and delicate gums clean, while the organic apple flavor keeps budding taste buds really happy and excited to brush. start their day with a smile, and peace out, bedtime brushing negotiations. Bpa-free, no phthalates, leaping bunny certified.
  • Flavors: Natural Apple, Natural Watermelon
  • Hello Fluoride Free Kids Toothpaste ingredients: vegetable glycerin (soothes and moisturizes), sorbitol (humectant), purified water, aloe vera gel (soothes and moisturizes), hydrated silica (thickener), xylitol (sweetener), erythritol (sweetener), xanthan gum (thickener), flavor* (yum), calcium glycerophosphate (mineral), potassium sorbate (maintains stability) and stevia rebaudiana leaf extract (sweetener)*. *certified organic

NATURAL FLUORIDE-FREE TOOTHPASTE FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS

3 brands of natural hydroxyapatite toothpaste for kids & teens

Risewell Kids Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

  • From the Risewell website: RiseWell Kids Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste for kids is packed with hydroxyapatite, which is a naturally-occurring mineral that strengthens teeth. Daily usage will leave your kid’s teeth visibly whiter, healthier, and stronger. It’s safe enough to eat and tastes like vanilla cake batter!
  • Flavor: Birthday Cake
  • Risewell Kids Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste ingredients: Silica, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Xylitol, Hydroxyapatite, Calcium Carbonate, Propanediol, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Potassium Cocoate, Stevia Rebaudiana Extract, Erythritol, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Cellulose Gum, Gluconate, Xanthan Gum

Dr. Brite Kids Mineral Toothpaste

  • From the Dr. Brite website: Our mineral based toothpaste is safe to swallow! Fluoride free, Sulfate free, Cruelty Free, Gluten Free, Paraben Free, Non-GMO, Phthalate Free.
  • Flavor: Strawberry
  • Dr. Brite Kids Mineral Toothpaste ingredients: aloe barbadensis (inner fillet) leaf juice, vegetable glycerin (soy free), xylitol, hydrated silica (mineral), hydroxyapatite (mineral), calcium carbonate (mineral), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, organic fragaria sinensis (strawberry) fruit flavor extract/powder, potassium cocoate (from coconut oil), sodium cocoyl isothionate (from coconut oil), calcium ascorbate (vitamin c), azadirachta indica (neem) extract, xanthan gum (thickener), stevia rebaudiana leaf/stem extract, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, illicium verum (anise) extract.

Wellnesse Toothpaste

  • From the Wellnesse website: Glycerin-free, Fluoride-Free, SLS free and Going Strong. Instead of fluoride, our formula contains green tea leaf extract, which is loaded with antioxidants. Plus, a phytochemical in green tea is shown to fight bacteria that leads to tooth decay. We combined this phytochemical with hydroxyapatite (a naturally-occurring mineral and main component of tooth enamel) to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Did we mention our toothpaste is Glycerin-Free?
  • Flavor: Fresh Mint
  • Wellnesse Toothpaste ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Sorbitol, Water, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xylitol, Silica, Hydroxyapatite, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract

ENAMEL-FORTIFYING HYDROXYAPATITE TOOTHPASTE FOR KIDS & TEENS

ORAL CARE FOR TEENS & YOUNG ADULTS

My kids are now teens, and it goes without saying that bad breath is not acceptable in any peer group. Your teen may be veering away from the kid-friendly flavors like birthday cake and wanting more minty fresh breath, so Wellnesse Toothpaste is a breath-freshening option that I recommend. You’ll still get enamel-fortifying benefits by using Hydroxyapatite toothpaste without the fluoride.

I have a post covering how to get rid of bad breath naturally if this is an ongoing issue for your teen. Otherwise, brushing twice a day, flossing, tongue scraping  and the occasional rinse with natural mouthwash should work. Poor diet, including too much sugar, is another cause of bad breath. Read more about natural mouthwash here.

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REFERENCES

  1. Thornton-Evans G, Junger ML, Lin M, Wei L, Espinoza L, Beltran-Aguilar E. Use of Toothpaste and Toothbrushing Patterns Among Children and Adolescents – United States, 2013-2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68(4):87-90. Published 2019 Feb 1. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6804a3
  2. Bashash, M., Thomas, D. et al. 2017. Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes in Children at 4 and 6–12 Years of Age in Mexico. Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 125, No. 9.
  3. Choi, A. et al. Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. 2012. Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol. 120, No. 10. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104912Cited by:107
  4. Green R, Lanphear B, Hornung R, et al. Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring in Canada [published online ahead of print, 2019 Aug 19]. JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(10):940-948. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1729.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6704756/
  5. Meyer F, Amaechi BT, Fabritius HO, Enax J. Overview of Calcium Phosphates used in Biomimetic Oral Care. Open Dent J. 2018;12:406-423. Published 2018 May 31. doi:10.2174/1874210601812010406
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5997847/?_ga=2.27426748.1073827304.1599421251-2018910469.1599421251
  6. Ramis, J., Coelho, C., Cordoba, A., Quadros, P., and M. Monjo. Safety Assessment of Nano-Hydroxyapatite as an Oral Care Ingredient according to the EU Cosmetics Regulation. Cosmetics 2018, 5, 53; doi:10.3390/cosmetics5030053.
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/20a0/6a41dfadbf8097bf9878a6ed76e7b7592815.pdf
  7. Amaechi BT, AbdulAzees PA, Alshareif DO, et al. Comparative efficacy of a hydroxyapatite and a fluoride toothpaste for prevention and remineralization of dental caries in children. BDJ Open. 2019;5:18. Published 2019 Dec 9. doi:10.1038/s41405-019-0026-8
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6901576/
  8. Lim, T.Y. et al. Propylene Glycol Toxicity in Children. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Oct-Dec; 19(4): 277–282.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4341412/

Blond baby holding pink toothbrush up to mouth