Best Toothbrushes & Toothpastes for Babies and Toddlers - 2022
Even tiny teeth can develop tooth decay and cavities, and no parent wants to subject their child to the discomfort of cavities (or that dreaded trip to the dentist).
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the key to long-term oral health is to start brushing those pearly whites early and often! Here are the top 5 toothbrushes for babies we've found, followed by in-depth reviews.
|Model and Link to Amazon||Our Rating|
|#1. Nuby Nubs Banana Toothbrush|
|#2. Dr. Brown's Giraffe Toothbrush|
|#3. The Brushies Finger Toothbrushes|
|#4. Papablic BabyHandy Toothbrush|
|#5. Jordan Step 1 Baby Toothbrush|
We've conducted hands-on reviews of over a dozen different gum brushes, teether toothbrushes, toddler electric toothbrushes, and traditional toddler toothbrushes. We examined the softness, effectiveness, and strength of the bristles, the ease of gripping and manipulating the toothbrush (for both parents and kids), durability for chew-happy babies, and of course, fun!
There's no better way to get babies started on a life-long healthy habit than a fun and colorful toothbrush that brings a smile to their face!
When we tested the toothbrushes, we also tried out several different baby and toddler toothpastes, focusing mainly on taste and the safety of ingredients. We tasted them ourselves and tried them out on three little kids - one 10 month old infant, and the other two were toddlers (14 and 18 months).
Full disclosure: Some of these baby toothbrushes and toothpastes, including the Papablic and Burts Bees products, were sent to us as free test samples by the manufacturer.
Here are the Best Toothbrushes for Babies and Toddlers!
The Nuby Nubs baby banana toothbrush and teether toy has been around for several years, and has improved considerably along the way. Made right here in the USA, this baby banana toothbrush is made with soft silicone that is free of BPA, phthlalates, latex, and other allergens. There are a few stand-out points about this toothbrush. First, it can be used as a gum brush for stimulating the gums, tongue, and other areas of the mouth before the first teeth pop out. Second, it can be used as a first toothbrush that begins with a parent holding and using it, and then transitions to an easy-to-hold toothbrush for babies about 10 months and up. Third, its awesome shape is super easy to hold and manipulate, and fun to look at! Fourth, we love how the soft silicone bristles cover the entire head of the toothbrush, not just one side. The other baby banana toothbrush we tested only has the silicone bristles on one side, like an adult toothbrush, but this one lets your baby gnaw on it while stimulating upper and lower gums simultaneously. And when you go to brush your baby's new teeth, it's super simple and you don't need to worry about orienting it the right way.
Finally, we also like how there is basically a choking guard built in, with the "banana peels" sticking out nice and wide so there is very little risk of your baby sticking this too far into their mouth. Coming in at only about $10, the Nuby Nubs is surprisingly tough and long-lasting. It is also surprisingly small out of the box, making it easy for babies to get a good grip on it. Its small size makes it most appropriate for babies who are soon transitioning into their first teeth, and can be used as a stimulating teething toy, and then as a first toothbrush. Given its small size, it's probably less appropriate for growing toddlers over the age of about 18 months. Tongue brush, gum brush, teether, and first toothbrush all-in-one? And dishwasher friendly for cleaning? Count us in! Who else loves Interested? You can check out the Nuby Banana Toothbrushes here!
For babies who love their Sophie Le Giraffe teething toy, or just love giraffes in general (who doesn't!?), then this will be a welcome addition to their morning and bedtime routines! With its long neck, brown spots, and legs it can actually stand on, this is one of the cutest baby toothbrushes available. Out of the package, we loved the overall size and the softness of its real nylon brush bristles. Ideal for toddlers about 16-18+ months, the soft bristles really get the job done to clean those pearly whites in a serious way! While we were expecting a soft silicone-style body, the giraffe is a relatively firm plastic, which is actually good because it makes it stand on its own and also prevents it from collecting dust, hair, and other grime that silicone tends to collect. It also makes it possible to really clean your teeth with some decent pressure and angulation that can reach all the little nooks and crannies in the mouth.
The handle is easy for small toddler hands to grip, and we liked how clean it stays due to its standing-upright capability. No more resting the toothbrush down on the sink and feeling like you need to clean it every day before use! We found the bristles to be sensitive, soft, and effective, and the entire brush to be durable and lightweight. Overall, it's a great toddler toothbrush that is not only effective but also totally adorable. Coming in at only about $4, it's a great deal for an awesome toothbrush. Expect it to last about 3 month or so with daily use (hopefully at least twice a day!). Interested? You can check out the Dr. Brown's Giraffe Toothbrushes here!
This is a little different than most baby toothbrushes, and serves more as a gum brush than anything else. The idea is that you slide it onto your finger, like your index finger, and use it to gently clean your baby's gums and any teeth starting to pop through. Because it's on your finger, you get very precise control over where it goes, how much pressure is used, and for how long. Many parents prefer finger toothbrushes for these reasons, and think it's the best way to start the brushing process on an infant. The Brushies are better than most other finger toothbrushes for a few reasons. First, they are made right here in the USA and are 100% silicone. Second, the silicone is much thicker than most others, making you less likely to get hurt if (when!) your baby bites down on your finger. Third, the designs are awesome and fun, including a green dinosaur, orange monkey, pink pig, and blue whale. They're basically finger puppet toothbrushes, making them a ton of fun for your baby. Fourth, the silicone brush bristles are soft and pliable, and we didn't have any issues with them breaking or falling off. Finally, we love how long and deep this goes onto your finger, making it a little more challenging to get on (get it wet first!), but also much less likely to pop off your finger while brushing. The only con we found is with big fingers: if you wear an XL glove, you will find this to be really tight on your finger! It's also a little pricey, coming in at about $10 per brush.
Other than that, we think this is the best gum brush and first toothbrush for parents who want to take charge of the brushing process. Note that Brushies also makes a 4-pack that includes an adorable baby book about toothbrushing, where the little finger puppet brushes come alive! Interested? You can check out the The Brushies Finger Toothbrushes here!
Just like mom and dad! If you use an electric toothbrush, odds are you know a few things: your baby or toddler is interested in it, it's a little more fun than a traditional toothbrush, and it can be a lot more effective when used properly. For those reasons, you might be interested in getting your baby or toddler their first electric toothbrush, and this is an awesome option! Papablic has been making high quality baby products for many years, including their popular baby bottle sterilizers and baby food makers. In general, they make high quality and reasonably-priced baby gear, and stand behind their products with responsive customer service. This electric baby toothbrush is no exception - it works well, is high quality, and is reasonably priced at only about $15. Out of the box, it includes the one AAA battery you need to get things up and running, and an extra brush head (one is smaller for babies, the other a bit larger for toddlers). Just twist off the bottom and slide in the battery, and you'll be up and running. When you turn it on, it has an awesome little LED that helps shine some light on the action - this is not only fun for a toddler looking in the mirror, but also great for parents helping out. Just like mom and dad's electric toothbrush, it has little vibrations every 30 seconds as a reminder to switch to the next quadrant of the mouth, and it automatically shuts off after 2 minutes (the recommended brushing time). It has a really small bristle head, ideal for baby and toddler mouths (and their tiny teeth!), and uses sonic vibrations that are very effective at cleaning. The entire thing is pretty lightweight and easy to hold in your hand (or a toddler's hand) given its slim and compact design. It also stands on its own and is BPA-free. Note that you can purchase extra Papablic brush heads online for about $4 each. No cons here other than the usual electric toothbrush drawbacks - replacing batteries and brush heads. The battery lasted about a week and a half, with twice daily brushing. Other than that, if you're looking to get an electric baby toothbrush, this is an awesome choice! Interested? You can check out the The Papablic Electric Baby Toothbrushes here!
When you first start out brushing a baby's teeth, it will take a little while for your baby to get used to the sensation of brushing, get familiar and comfortable with the toothbrush itself, and of course figure out what exactly to do with the brush. For these reasons, getting a combination teether and toothbrush is a great idea because you can let your baby explore the toothbrush as a baby teething toy, trying out the chewy nubs on one side, and randomly trying out the brush side as well. This will help them get comfortable and familiar with the toothbrush while also helping to soothe any gum pain during teething. The Nuby Nubs works reasonably in this regard, but for babies getting their first teeth popping out, a true bristle toothbrush is a little more ideal for true cleaning. Enter the Jordan Step 1 toothbrush! This combines a traditional nylon bristle toothbrush with a nice wide grip area that doubles as a teether toy. The grip area is pliable plastic and silicone (all BPA free), and is shaped in a great way to help little hands grip onto it, and little mouths gnaw on it! In fact, this baby toothbrush has won a few awards for its innovative design. While it's not made in the USA, the company is based in Norway and makes their products in Malaysia, not China. The nylon brush bristles were a good size for a first toothbrush, but not necessarily ideal for chewing on as a teether because they tend to flatten or otherwise get contorted. Another little con is that the bristles are soft but also rather short, which makes them a little stiffer than some others on this list. They do loosen up after some usage, but you might notice their stiffness when you first start using them (so be gentle!). Outside of that, we think this is an awesome option that combines a nice teether with a traditional bristled toothbrush that is great at getting the job done! Interested? You can check out the Jordan Step 1 Baby Toothbrushes here!
Baby Toothbrush Conclusions.
Even before the first tooth starts to appear around 6-10 months of age, you can use a gentle baby gum brush without any toothpaste at all. A properly-designed toothbrush can also double as a great teething toy to help relieve pressure and discomfort during teething. Once that first tooth emerges, get your hands on a fun and effective baby training toothbrush to keep those brand new teeth clean and healthy!
Early and frequent brushing will not only help keep your baby's teeth clean and healthy, it will also promote fresh breath and get your baby used to the daily brushing routine they will end up using their entire lives. Once your baby starts first foods, preferably one of our best organic baby foods, you will need to be extra careful about making sure those pearly whites are clean!
Studies also show that good oral hygiene is associated with tons of positive health outcomes for kids and adults, so get them started early with a safe, fun, and effective baby toothbrush that lays the foundation for many years of effective toothbrushing!
Finding the best baby toothbrush was a little more challenging than we expected. We had a lot of issues with silicone bristles popping off and getting swallowed, finger toothbrushes being too thin or popping off our fingers, some silicone toothbrushes being too flimsy and bendy, and some electric baby toothbrushes being too noisy and powerful. That ended up dropping 9 different options from our list, leaving 5 awesome options that rose to the top. They are all great, but also designed to suit different parent needs - some want to do it themselves with their finger, some want to do it with a brush, and some others want to give their baby the freedom and experience of starting to it themselves. Go with what you're comfortable with, but be sure that those new little teeth are getting clean!
Now for the Baby Toothpaste Reviews
Early oral hygiene includes not only a great toothbrush, but also an effective toothpaste. Fortunately there are several great options, including both fluoride-free toothpastes and those containing fluoride. In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting with a fluoride toothpaste as soon as your baby's teeth begin to emerge through the gums. Using a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) is recommended.
Some parents and pediatricians still prefer fluoride-free for babies who haven't learned how to spit after brushing, so we provide some of those options as well. Either way, be sure to get in at least two brushings per day, which will help prevent tooth decay (yes, even in baby teeth!) and get your child into a good routine.
The baby toothpastes we reviewed ranged from colorful and fruity toothpastes with artificial colors and flavors, to all natural baby toothpastes that leave both your teeth and conscience clean!
|Model and Link to Amazon||Our Rating|
|#1. Tom's of Maine Training Toothpaste|
|#2. Burt's Bees Fluoride Kids Toothpaste|
|#3. Radius Organic Baby Toothpaste|
|#4. Burt's Bees Fluoride-Free|
|#5. Dr. Brown's Baby Toothpaste|
Here are the Best Toothpastes for Babies and Toddlers!
This was a tough decision between two particular options - the Tom's Training Toothpaste, and the Burt's Bees Baby Toothpaste. The two options have very similar ingredients profiles, both are all-natural, have a very mild flavor suitable for babies and toddlers, are fluoride-free, and target the same age range (3 to 24 months of age). We ended up preferring Tom's for a few reasons: first, it was more widely available than the specific Burt's Bees Baby toothpaste, and second, the Tom's uses xylitol instead of stevia as a sweetener. We'll get into that difference in a bit. Tom's of Maine is widely known and respected as a company producing high quality, environmentally responsible, natural, and high-performing products. And this toothpaste is no exception. Its ingredients profile includes glycerin (moistener), propanediol (corn-based consistency helper), hydrated silica (natural cleaner), water, xylitol (natural and mild sweetener), benzyl alcohol (natural preservative), carrageenan (natural gum), natural flavor, and citric acid (pH adjuster). Most of these ingredients are listed as low or lowest risk by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), with one exception: benzyl alcohol. This particular ingredient can be an allergen for some people, but we were hard-pressed to find an option without this ingredient (but see the organic option, below). The reason is that it's a very commonly used natural preservative, derived from cassia oil, and just a tiny bit of it goes a long way. Out of the tube, this baby toothpaste is the perfect thickness and consistency, and the fruity flavor was super mild relative to other options we tested. Given that you're likely to start using this as young as around 3 months, we think it's important to have a very mild flavor that's unlikely to lead to any taste aversions. The use of xylitol helps because it's a relatively mild sweetener, and doesn't have the licorice-like (and some say even spicy) aftertaste that that people often report with stevia. The texture is good, not pasty or grainy at all, and it seemed to do a pretty good job at both cleaning and freshening breath. Any parent of a baby with reflux will attest to how important fresh baby breath can be! Overall, we were really happy with this toothpaste and think it's an excellent first toothpaste option for discerning parents. Coming in at nearly $3/ounce, it's not particularly cheap, but you pay for what you get in quality. Also recommended by our friends at The Bump, you can check out the Tom's Training Toothpaste here!
We know that some people flip out about fluoride, but we have no horse in that race, and respect the opinion of the American Academy of Pedatrics, which recommends using a tiny (grain of rice sized) bit of fluoride-containing toothpaste on babies as soon as their first teeth begin cutting through the gums. The effectiveness of fluoride for short- and long-term oral health is very well established for its role in preventing tooth decay in kids and adults. The key is to use only a super tiny amount, the AAP says the size of a grain of rice, and then you don't need to worry about swallowing risks. That being said, we really love this Burt's Bees option and think it's a great option as a first toothpaste for parents looking to use fluoride. Note that we also review a Burt's Bees non-fluoride option, below, which has a very similar ingredients profile. For this toothpaste, the ingredients include: sodium fluoride, glycerin (moistener), water, hydrated silica (natural cleaner), sodium cocoyl glutamate (mild foaming agent), natural flavors, xantham gum (natural gum), carrageenan (another natural gum), stevia, and titanium dioxide (gives the white appearance). Basically, these are the same ingredients as the non-fluoride option, with the exception of fluoride itself and the foaming agent. All of the ingredients, other than fluoride, are classified as low or lowest risk by the EWG. Fluoride has moderate concerns according to the EWG, but mostly with larger consumed quantities - again, we're not goint to get into that heated debate! Out of the tube, it was thick and easy to use, and has a fruity flavor that is a bit stronger than the Tom's (above); if your baby doesn't like fruity flavors, they might be a little averse to this at first, but give them some time and introduce it very slowly. It also has a mild mint flavor to it, and the stevia sweetener gives it a little bit of a licorice-like aftertaste that some kids don't like (and some might even call a bit spicy). You may or may not notice that. It's very effective at cleaning, but not all of our test kids liked the flavor, especially the younger ones. Overall, we think it's an awesome balance between a natural first toothpaste and one that includes fluoride, as recommended by the AAP. Also a top pick by our friends at WhatToExpect and The Bump, you can check out the Burt's Bees Fluoride Kids Toothpaste here!
It was really challenging to find a fluoride-free organic baby toothpaste that wasn't simply a jar of messy paste with bizarre textures and flavors! We ended up testing three organic varieties, and this one came out on top for a few reasons. First, it looks and acts like a normal toothpaste, out of an ordinary tube. Second, while "organic" actually only means at least 95% organic content, this includes nearly all organic ingredients: glycerine, coconut powder, coconut milk powder, coconut oil, agave, calcium carbonate, banana flavor, grapefruit oil, and coconut flavor. The only non-organic ingredient is calcium carbonate, which is a mineral that gives the paste its abrasive cleaning quality. Without that ingredient, you'd basically just be putting coconut and banana puree in your baby's mouth and hoping for it to accomplish something! Out of the tube, it had a very powerful banana and coconut odor and flavor - if your baby is sensitive to new tastes and smells, or doesn't like banana, this definitely won't be a good option for you. But we really liked the flavor and texture, and our test babies appreciated it too. The cleaning effectiveness is sort of questionable, though teeth did look a little cleaner after use, and it's likely better than nothing. That's the primary challenge with an organic toothpaste - it can taste great, make you feel good about its ingredients, but the cleaning effectiveness might not be stellar. But if you're looking for organic, this is a great option, and at a surprisingly good price around $2/ounce, cheaper than most other options on this list. Interested? You can check out the Radius Organic Baby Toothpaste here!
We love Burt's Bees, and tested both their amazing (but hard to find) baby toothpaste, and this toddler toothpaste best-suited for toddlers about 2 years and older. Like the Tom's option (above), it doesn't contain any of the nasty stuff - including sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, parabens, artificial flavors or sweeteners, artificial preservatives, or dyes. None of that is surprising if you know anything about Burt's Bees and their responsible business and manufacturing practices. They don't just make great lip balm, they make some really awesome toothpastes for kids and adults. This one is a fruity flavor that is a bit stronger than the Tom's option above, making it more appropriate for toddlers and older. It is still fluoride-free, but makes a great transition toothpaste between baby and a bigger kid who learns how to effectively spit at the end of brushing. While they don't recommend swallowing any of this toothpaste, you can rest assured that a few mistakes are not likely to cause any problems. The ingredients include gycerine (moistener), water, hydrated silica (natural cleaner), benzyl alcohol (natural preservative), natural flavor (orange oil), xanthan gum (a natural gum), carrageenan (another natural gum), stevia (natural sweetener), and citric acid. As we mentioned before, these ingredients are largely the same as with the Tom's option, above. All of it is very mild and categorized as low or lowest risk by the EWG, with the exception of benzyl alcohol, as we previously discussed. The paste itself is thick and easy to spread onto the toothbrush, and seems to do a great job cleaning and freshening the breath. Cons? Well, once your baby learns how to spit after brushing, many dentists recommend shifting to a toothpaste containing fluoride; in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests only using a toothpaste with fluoride from the beginning - in their earlier guidance they suggested fluoride toothpaste over the age of 2, but in their newer guidance they recommend it for all babies once teeth begin to emerge. Interested? You can check out the Burt's Bees Kids Toothpaste here!
Dr. Brown's not only makes some of the best baby bottles and toothbrushes on the market, but also a really great baby toothpaste that we would be sad not to review! This is a fluoride-free and all-natural toothpaste with a great texture, a super mild pear and apple flavor, and a pretty good ingredient profile. Speaking of which, it contains glycerine (moistener), water, xylitol (natural sweetener), propanediol (corn-based consistency helper), sorbitol (sugar alcohol), pectin (gives the jelly-like consistency), xantham gum (a natural gum), silica (a natural abrasive cleaner), sorbic acid (natural preservative), natural flavor, and calcium (mineral). So there are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which is nice. Nor are there any nasty things that tend to be included in the Colgate or Crest options, like sodium lauryl sulfate, saccharin, and artificial colors. In contrast, all of the Dr. Brown's baby toothpaste ingredients are low or lowest risk according to the EWG, and Dr. Brown's says it's all safe to swallow, making it a good first toothpaste option. We and our test babies liked the super mild flavor and the smooth texture, though we questioned its cleaning effectiveness a bit. So why are we only giving it honorable mention? It's so expensive! Coming in at nearly $7/ounce, this is more than twice the price of any other option on this list! Whether it's worth the price or not is ultimately your decision, but we think the Tom's Training or Tom's Baby toothpastes are a more reasonable option. Other than that, it's a truly great baby toothpaste that is not only reasonably effective at cleaning but also natural and safe to swallow. Interested? You can check out the Dr. Brown's Baby Toothpaste here!
Baby Toothpaste Conclusions.
We also tested a bunch of other kids toothpastes, such as the Colgate Kids option, Kid's Crest, and several others. The problem with many of these toothpastes is that they contain some pretty off-putting ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, saccharin, and a bunch of artificial colors and flavors.
If you're looking for something a bit more mainstream and possibly easier to find and less expensive, we suggest trying out the new Colgate Zero toothpaste. This new line of products contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives; but it is not all natural, for those interested, as it still contains things like poloxamer 407 and propylene glycol. Though we're not fond of those ingredients, we will admit that our test kids liked the flavor and consistency, it did a nice job cleaning, and it has a nice price point.