Why use toothpaste?
There are many reasons to use toothpaste. Toothpaste physically helps remove thick harmful biofilm on teeth surfaces which may cause tooth decay or gum disease. Most toothpastes also contain fluoride, which makes teeth more resistant to dental caries and aid remineralisation of early carious lesions. Additionally, some toothpastes have special ingredients to address staining and/or bad breath! 

How much toothpaste should my child be using?
For infants, toothpaste is not required however if desired only a small smear over the toothbrush is appropriate. Children aged 3 years and above should be advised a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Due to the way toothpastes are advertised, it is not surprising to know many adults think a large dollop of toothpaste should be used to cover the entire surface of your toothbrush, in reality, a pea-sized amount for adults is all you need.

What kind of toothpaste should my child be using?
There are many brands of toothpaste and usually, the type of brand will depend on what flavour your child prefers. What you should be looking out for is the quantity of fluoride. Children who swallow their toothpaste (typically aged 3 years and under) should be given a calcium-based toothpaste without fluoride. Children aged 3-6 years are advised a low fluoride children’s toothpaste and children aged 6 years and above are recommended full adult strength toothpaste. A lot of this may be dependant on whether or not your child can spit out during tooth brushing, and also what has been advised by a dental professional. If your child is at high risk of dental decay, the level of fluoride in their toothpaste will be best guided by their dental practitioner.

What about fluoride?
Because children under the age of 6 tend to swallow rather than spit out excess toothpaste, they need to use low fluoride toothpaste. Once they have been trained to spit out during tooth brushing sessions, it is okay to be using an adult strength fluoridated toothpaste. Any sensitive or whitening toothpastes are not recommended for children.


1. Spit, don’t rinse! Avoid rinsing after toothbrushing and encourage your child to spit out any excess toothpaste only. The residual toothpaste will provide additional protection for the teeth.

2. If your child has allergies or aversion to flavours, some pharmacies stock ‘plain toothpaste’ with no added colours or flavours, ask us about it at your next check up!

3. Remember; a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is all you need!

4. Try to avoid highly sweetened toothpastes when introducing it as it can make transitioning to mint flavours more challenging.


As soon as your child is able to spit out, it is safe to switch them to adult toothpaste.

Yes! Finally, some of the bigger brands have been listening to our requests and there are a number of options available. Ask your dental practitioner which option is right for your child.


Want to know about Fluoride and why its important, check to this page from the ADA for further information:

Thanks to our wonderful Oral Health Therapist, Kay.
This blog was written by our Oral Health Therapist Kay, from Werribee, she is an amazing source of information for all things dental. Thanks Kay!
If you would like to talk to her or any of our amazing team, about this or any other questions you may have, please contact us on 03 9372 8960.