Best Kids' Toothpaste
The Hello Oral Care is an ADA Accepted toothpaste for kids that is just about as healthy as a paste can get with a taste our testers loved. This paste is nicely packaged, has an easy-to-use tube that was as mess-free as a tube and kids can get. We like that it isn't tested on animals and is free of artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, dyes, SLS, microbeads, triclosan, parabens, and gluten. The flavor is refreshing and unique, one of the most popular choices during testing.
Dog owners should be aware that this product contains Xylitol, and while it is lower on the ingredient list than some of the competition, even small amounts are a toxin for dogs. Dog owners should make an effort to ensure that their four-legged friends don't access the contents. Other than that, we think there is much to love about this toothpaste, and it is one of our favorite options in the lineup.
The Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste is a natural toothpaste that does no animal testing and is free of many concerning chemicals that often give parents pause. Tom's is ADA Accepted and has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It uses calcium and silica to clean teeth and natural flavors for a great taste kids enjoyed during testing. The natural flavor comes from real fruit juice and oil derived from things like oranges, lemons, and strawberries. We love that this option doesn't contain added sweeteners and is safe for pets who might accidentally gain access to the tube.
This paste includes Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) derived from coconut or plan kernel oil. Some individuals are sensitive to this ingredient or prefer choosing products without SLS, so it is worth considering if you prefer to limit your exposure to SLS. All of the ingredients in this paste are naturally derived, and we appreciate Tom's effort and transparency in their ingredient list and where they source their ingredients. Overall, we like this paste and feel it is a great choice for most families, especially those with canine members, as it doesn't include xylitol.
The Burt's Bees Kids Toothpaste with Fluoride is an ADA Accepted toothpaste with a flip-top lid. This paste has a pleasant scent and is free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), triclosan, parabens, artificial flavors and sweeteners, preservatives, blue, red, and yellow dyes, and plastic microbeads. The tube and packaging are recyclable, and the paste has one of the shortest ingredient lists in the group.
Our testers had mixed views on the taste of this paste with a 50/50 report of like vs. dislike, making it one of the few in this review that could be a gamble if your child has picky taste buds. Also, this paste is sort of runny, which isn't a problem for teeth brushing, but it did make more of a mess than the competition. However, it is a budget-friendly paste that limits ingredients and is free of many concerning chemicals making it a parent favorite in our tests, and the price is low enough for the tightest of budget.
The Kiss My Face Gentle Toothpaste is a vegan toothpaste that is also cruelty-free with no animal testing. This paste utilizes tea tree oil and aloe vera for cleansing power and is free of SLS, parabens, and artificial flavors and colors.
This paste contains aloe vera and tea tree oil which can be irritants for some people. We recommend testing a small amount before coating your entire mouth to help head off a potential reaction. Dog owners should be aware it also contains xylitol that can be very harmful to dogs, and should be kept out of their reach. Overall, we like what the Kiss My Face paste has to offer, and our testers love the taste making it a good choice for those with picky kids or who want more natural ingredients in their toothpaste.
The ACT Kids Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste is made by a well-known brand in oral care. This paste comes in three flavors, including grape, watermelon, and bubblegum. We tested grape and watermelon, with testers preferring the watermelon flavor. This paste is easy to use, has a flip-top lid it stands on, and the consistency of the paste keeps it on the brush for less mess overall.
This paste includes many ingredients that give some parents pause, including SLS, dyes, and several artificial sweeteners. If you are trying to avoid any of the ingredients in this paste, it is probably one you should skip. However, if you want an easy-to-find and use paste that kids will use, then ACT might be a good one to try.
The Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper is a natural gel toothpaste free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or sweeteners. It has an off-white color and is thicker and less messy than some of the competition. This flavor is "not yucky grape," and kids in our tests liked the taste, even those who dislike most grape-flavored products. The tube is easy to use, and the price is reasonable for a product without SLS.
This product is sort of clear, but ours was kind of yellowish, and some testers were off-put by the color calling it "dirty." Also, it contains xylitol, and while it is further down in the ingredient list than some of the competition, it could still pose a risk to dogs and should be kept up and away from pets. Kids in our tests like this paste and were willing to forgive the strange color once we got them to try it, but it might be a tough sell to super picky little ones concerned with looks and texture.
The Spry Toothpaste is a gel toothpaste that uses xylitol and fluoride to help prevent cavities. It has a bright pink color that testers found enticing, and the tube is easy to use. The company also claims it can help with gum sensitivity with regular use, something we didn't see in the competition but also didn't experience during testing.
Dog owners should be aware that this product relies on xylitol as its first taste enhancer in its ingredients list. While xylitol is fine for humans, it can be toxic and even fatal if consumed by canines, making it a potentially less than optimal choice for families with dogs. This product lacks information about dyes, but it is hard to imagine the bright pink color comes from anything natural. The flavor was also snubbed by more than one of our testers. In the end, it isn't a top pick for most families, but if xylitol is important to your dental hygiene routine, it may be a contender for cavity prevention.
The Crest Kid's Toothpaste Pump is a pump-style package with a popular Disney character on the side. Our little testers were drawn to Buzz, and the taste of the paste making it a popular choice right out of the testing gate.
Unfortunately, this pump is really hard to use. Our 9-year-old tester wasn't able to exert enough pressure on the top to get paste out of the pump, and even the adult struggled with it. Once the pump dispenses paste, the closure and cut-off mechanism creates a sticky mess that gets worse over time. This paste also contains SLS, which isn't necessary for clean teeth and isn't included in much of the competition. They also list "flavor" as an ingredient with no information on what this consists of. We aren't sure that this paste is a great pick for most families unless you absolutely need the character endorsement to get child compliance with brushing.
The Colgate Kids is an ADA-accepted gel toothpaste. This paste is gluten-free and has a taste our testers preferred over the competing bubblegum flavors. The tube is easy to use and relatively mess-free. Parents like that this option is easy to find in stores, and the price is right. It doesn't contain xylitol.This paste includes dyes and SLS, so it might not be the right choice for everyone despite it being gluten-free. Also, it uses saccharine for flavor, and some parents might not feel comfortable with this additive.
The Kid's Crest Cavity Protection is an ADA-accepted toothpaste that is bright-colored, and testers enjoyed the taste. It comes in an easy-to-use tube that stands on the cap. Parents like that it is easy to find in stores and comes with a very budget-friendly price tag.
This toothpaste contains SLS and other dyes and flavors that might concern some parents, so it is something to keep in mind when making a selection if it is important to you. We like that this paste is xylitol-free which may make it a good choice for families with dogs. Still, it wouldn't be our top choice for most families concerned with finding products with limited ingredients or who want a paste free of SLS, parabens, artificial sweeteners, and more.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our kids' toothpaste review is led by Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor and mother of 2 boys. Wendy researched and selected toothpaste with an eye for healthy ingredients and cavity-fighting power, as well as taste and how likely her children would be to use them. Each paste was tested side-by-side with the competition over time during regular teeth brushing with electric and standard brushes. We considered each for liability, quality, what it lacks, and more. We relied heavily on the feedback of kid testers for taste and likability.
Analysis and Test Results
We bought and used some of the top kid's toothpaste on the market with real kids to get insider details on taste, consistency, ingredients, and more. We think there is something for every need, personal taste, and budget in this great product lineup.
In our selection for kids' toothpaste, we chose options that all contain fluoride. We are not medical professionals, but this is the best practice as advised by the American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP). If you are looking for toothpaste for toddlers and babies who might accidentally swallow toothpaste while brushing, you might consider a fluoride-free alternative. However, please keep in mind that fluoride helps prevent cavities and is a part of good oral hygiene. If you have concerns or questions on which type is best for your little one, consult their pediatrician or pediatric dentist for further advice for your specific child.
Now more than ever, parents are making thoughtful product selections with health and the environment in mind. We suspect toothpaste ingredients are no exception and we at BabyGearLab tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to concerning ingredients and chemicals with a trend toward a less is more approach. This means we look for products that offer natural ingredients derived from renewable resources whenever possible. We like to see products with fewer ingredients and those that focus on eliminating chemicals of concern.
SLS is something called a surfactant, or a chemical used to help break up the surface tension of water or allows oil and water to bind to one another. It is commonly found in beauty and cleaning products for this reason. It is also largely what creates the foaming action you are used to in products like shampoo and toothpaste. SLS can be man-made or derived from coconut or palm kernel oil. The FDA considers SLS to be safe as an additive in beauty and food products and it is not associated with any increased risk in cancer or other significant health issues. So why are some products bragging that they don't contain SLS? SLS is a known irritant and while it is typically used in small quantities in products that have minimal skin contact time, it can cause rashes and irritation for those with sensitive skin, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. If you are worried about skin irritation or experience sensitivities to chemicals, it might be worth considering a product free of SLS. Some parents hope to avoid any potential SLS related reactions by skipping it even if their little ones aren't sensitive. The choice is up to you and what you feel is right for your family.
With this in mind, we set out to choose a variety of toothpaste options so you'd have several to choose from that give consideration to eliminating dyes, artificial flavors, and sweeteners or have formulations that lack parabens and SLS. We were pleasantly surprised to find so many viable options and our kid testers largely agreed that the flavors of the more natural pastes were yummy as well. There is no need to sacrifice taste, quality, or child satisfaction for your desire to decrease exposure to certain ingredients.
Hello Oral Care is free of artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, dyes, SLS, microbeads, triclosan, parabens, and gluten. It is also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. The overwhelming taste approval from our testers is just icing on the cake of this excellent option. Burts Bess also boasts an impress "free-from" list with the omission of SLS, triclosan, parabens, artificial flavors and sweeteners, preservatives, blue, red, and yellow dyes, and plastic microbeads. It is a great, budget-friendly option and comes in a fun fruit flavor. Alternatively, the better-known name brands like Crest, Colgate, and Act all include dyes, artificial flavors and sweeteners, and SLS.
Xylitol consumption in dogs can be extremely toxic and can potentially lead to death. The artificial sweetener causes a spike in insulin levels, resulting in low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and death. It is so toxic that we recommend homes with canines consider refraining from purchasing products with xylitol as accidents can happen no matter how careful you try to be. Cats seem to be less affected by the additive, but there have been reports of toxicity to ferrets, so be sure to consider your fur family before deciding on products with xylitol that could potentially harm them. If you do choose a xylitol product and you own dogs, it is best to keep the paste in a drawer when not in use to avoid contact with curious canines who might counter surf out of boredom.
Taste and Consistency
Taste is the driving factor behind whether or not little ones will brush their teeth without a fight. Finding a good-tasting toothpaste can make the difference between a 2 minutes brushing success story and a crying fit with subpar brushing at best. We tried to choose a variety of products and flavors for kids to help provide something for everyone, no matter what flavors they may be more drawn to. In general, toothpaste for kids doesn't come in any kind of mint flavor, and as such, you won't find those options represented in our sample. However, that being said, testers and parents alike felt that some of the bubblegum options had a "mint" or "spicy" zing or after taste. This may be something to keep in mind for kids who have an aversion to mint.
Also, testers without bubblegum experience found the gum flavors off-putting as they don't mimic flavors you find outside of gum. Luckily, many of the bubblegum flavored brands also come in other flavors you can try if the ingredient list checks the boxes you are looking for. Crest, Colgate, and Spry all offer more than one flavor option, though it can be more difficult to find non-bubblegum varieties of Crest and Colgate for Kids. Spry offers a tropical fruit flavor we didn't test, and Crest has a "Sparkle Fun Flavor," whatever that is.
The popular flavors with our testers included strawberry, Grape, and fruit. However, not all flavors are created equal. Mulitple kids like the Grape flavor of the ACT Kids Toothpaste, while only half liked the "Not Yucky Grape" of the Natural Dentist. Parents, however, preferred the ingredient list of the Natural Dentist over Act, and there is a chance that some kids might accept the Not Yucky Grape as perfectly fine if they never get to try the ACT brand. Our testers' favorite was the blue raspberry in the Hello Oral Care paste, and most chose this flavor over the competition without fail. Strawberry found in the Tom's of Maine paste was also a winner, but not with kids who were used to the more mainstream brand name pastes as they struggled to get past the brown color and less gel-like consistency they were used to. The "fruit fusion" flavor of the Burts Bees paste was also well regarded. Still, the loose consistency of the paste was a turn-off for some testers, and it got messy with younger kids who struggled to get the brush to their mouth before the paste ended up everywhere. One tester refused even to try the Kiss My Face Gentle Toothpaste as the color is sort of an off yellowish brown that looks like a bad banana. But, we believe younger users may not even notice or won't find it remarkable if they've used natural-based kinds of toothpaste in the past, as many have more natural colors as they lack dyes.
In our experience, kids can get used to most textures represented in this sampling of products, especially younger kids, but getting used to a hated flavor is a tougher sell. So we recommend you choose the flavor over texture or consistency once you find an ingredient list you are comfortable with. It is also important to consider that taste buds and preferences can change. Over time, some flavors may not hold the appeal they once did, making a switch up something to consider. Luckily, most kinds of toothpaste are relatively inexpensive, so if your little one doesn't care for a particular flavor, you can try something else and finish the tube yourself or find a friend who thinks it's fabulous and the money lost isn't likely to sting too much.
Often, finding a toothpaste that children find palatable and parents find acceptable is more challenging than it should be. With so many potential options on the market, it isn't easy to find one that contains the ingredients you want in a package children find interesting that also has a flavor they like. In our detailed testing with discerning young kids, we were able to get direct feedback on taste, consistency, and whether or not they'd voluntarily choose specific pastes over others. We think there is something for everyone in this lineup, no matter what flavor or lack of ingredient is important to you, your child, or your budget.
— Wendy Schmitz