Friday, May 22, 2009

Brush up on healthy dental care for kids

A recent article in Kiwi Magazine made me think more about dental care products for my kids, well my older one anyway. Right now, Gregory does a great job of brushing his teeth, however he does chew through more than his fair share of Dora, Elmo, flashing Firefly and singing Thomas brushes. He doesn't use any toothpaste, mostly because I am sure he will swallow it and partially because I have a vivid recollection of my late uncle, the dentist, saying toothpaste was completely unnecessary if brushing and flossing were done frequently and correctly.

Still, the mister and I use Tom's of Maine toothpaste most of the time. I don't know that it's the best product on the market, but it's definitely better than the mass products and it's readily available (and sometimes even on sale). My husband hates (with a capital H) any unconventional flavors. For instance, I like Cinnamint; he does not. We both intensely disliked the Ginger flavor, but luckily it's been discontinued.

Another brand I've tried and which has its merits is The Natural Dentist. Back when I lived in NYC and was working at a healthcare marketing agency, I worked on this account. It was basically one guy in New Jersey who'd created this line and was committed to growing the business. He was a little ahead of his time, but now I see it's got a shiny new brand and seems to be thriving. When my grandmother was in her late years, she could not have products with alcohol in them (a medication-related, dry mouth thing, if you must know). The Natural Dentist's mouth rinses are all alcohol-free and they were a godsend for her. She really loved the stuff. Of course, they are also perfect for kids, with no artificial sweeteners, dyes or preservatives either. I was not a fan of their toothpastes, but that was awhile ago, so judge for yourself. These products are available at Rite Aid, CVS and Vitamin Shoppe stores and online at, among others.

A European brand that is very eco-friendly and kid-friendly is Weleda. You can get Weleda products at Target, Whole Foods or your local health food store and online at Their Children's Tooth Gel is likely the first type I'll let my kids use.

For something with ayurvedic underpinnings, consider Organix South's TheraNeem. I am not familiar with these products, but here's an excerpt from their site: "Original Herbal Mint and new homeopathic-friendly Cinnamon Cardamom Flavor toothpastes support healthy teeth and gums with organic supercritical extracts of Neem bark, Neem leaf and more. All-natural, concentrated formulas contain no sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens." You can buy online direct. If you try it, please report back to me with your review.

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