Ever reach for your toothpaste tube only to discover it's empty? When faced with the dilemma of going without a good brushing, you might be tempted to grab the closest alternative, but is that a good idea? If you're wondering, "Can adults use kids' toothpaste?" we've got the answer.
Adult Toothpaste vs. Kids' Toothpaste
It doesn't take much to spot the most noticeable difference between adult and kids' toothpaste. Chances are your kids' toothpaste features a sweet, fruity flavor, unlike the typical mint flavoring of many adult toothpastes.
However, looking deeper than flavor, there could be a crucial difference in the formulation of adult and kids' toothpaste. This is where label reading comes in handy. The active ingredient in fluoride toothpaste is, of course, fluoride. But the key question is how much fluoride? Depending on the brand and type of toothpaste, the fluoride concentration might vary, or there may be none at all in the case of fluoride-free toothpaste, such as a toddler training toothpaste.
So, Can Adults Use Kids' Toothpaste?
In short, yes, you can use your child's toothpaste. In many cases, a kids' toothpaste will have the same ingredients as adults'—other than the flavoring. If there is any difference in the toothpaste formulation, it's likely that the kids' toothpaste will contain less fluoride than your own. So, if your kids' toothpaste is fluoride-free and you typically rely on fluoride toothpaste to help fight cavities, then you might not want to make a habit of using theirs regularly. Be sure to check that ingredient label, so you know exactly what's in it.
Can Kids Use Adult Toothpaste?
What if you find yourself in the opposite conundrum and your kids need to use your toothpaste? Or maybe they just want to try your peppermint flavor instead of their own silly strawberry. Again, it's always a good idea to check the label first. As the American Dental Association (ADA) explains, as soon as your little ones pop their first tooth, you can keep it clean with fluoride toothpaste. The amount of toothpaste used is what's most important to keep in mind. With any fluoride toothpaste, if your kids are younger than three years old, you should use no more than a smear, according to the ADA. For kids three to six years old, you should use no more than a pea-sized amount.
If you're in a pinch and your adult palate can handle the sweetness of a kids' toothpaste, you can feel comfortable using it. And if your older kids are ready to make the switch to adult toothpaste, you can always try a transition toothpaste with a minty flavor that's a little more grown-up but still subtle. When in doubt, consult with your dentist to make sure the type and amount of toothpaste you and your kids are using are best for your needs.
Learn more about the ingredients that go into oral care products on the Naturally Good Products board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!
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Why It's Good
Whether you're out of your own toothpaste, or you simply prefer a fruity flavor, you can feel comfortable using your kid's toothpaste.