In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

The 4 Best Kids' Toothpastes

We tested paste from Hello, Tom's, Crest, Colgate, and more to find the options kids will want to actually use
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Best Kids' Toothpaste
There are more toothpaste options for kids than ever, so you can find a great product that meets your goals and your child's taste requirements.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

Our Top Picks

By Wendy Schmitz ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Monday April 1, 2024

Trying to find a toothpaste you feel good about that your kids will use without a fuss? We tested 9 popular toothpaste options for taste, quality, consistency, and ingredients to find the best products on the market. Using hands-on testing and real kids brushing their teeth with our selections, we have the insider details you need to find something for every kid in your life that works within your health goals and budget concerns.

We've got the inside scoop on other gear for kids, from the best pedal bikes for kids and our favorite kids' bike helmets to the best vitamins for kids and top-ranked masks for kids, and more.

Editor's note: This kids' toothpaste review was updated on April 1, 2024, to reflect current pricing and product availability.


Best Overall Toothpaste

Hello Oral Care

Dye: No | Added Sweetener: Xylitol/Stevia
Limited ingredients
Primarily online only

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 and has an easy-to-use tube that is 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 taste 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 toxic to dogs. Dog owners should try to ensure that their four-legged friends don't gain access to the contents. If you need something with a lower price, the Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste is one to consider and doesn't include xylitol. We think there is much to love about this toothpaste, and it is one of our favorite options in the lineup.

kids toothpaste - best overall toothpaste
The Hello toothpaste wins the flavor competition hands down, but some kids find the thinner consistency hard to keep clean.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


No Compromise Budget Choice

Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste

Dye: No | Added Sweetener: None
No artificial sweeteners
Naturally derived ingredients
Recyclable tube
Contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

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 enjoy during testing. The natural flavor comes from real fruit juice and oil derived from 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. Also, the paste is a tan color that could be off-putting to kids who are used to vibrant colors or sparkly pastes. If your little one is balking at the beige color, Burt's Bees Kids Toothpaste with Fluoride is another natural option that is more white in color. Overall, we like this paste and feel it is an excellent choice for most families, especially those with canine members, as it doesn't include xylitol.

kids toothpaste - no compromise budget choice
Tom's is a somewhat off-white color that could be surprising for kids used to more traditional name brands that are bright in color or even include sparkles.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Good for the Tightest Budget

Burt's Bees Kids Toothpaste with Fluoride

Dye: No | Added Sweetener: Stevia
Fewer ingredients
Iffy taste feedback
Runny consistency

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 preferences. Also, this paste is runny, which isn't a problem for teeth brushing, but it made more of a mess than the typical paste during testing. If you want something more readily available in stores, Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste is a natural alternative that can be found in many grocery or drug stores. However, Burt's Bees is a budget-friendly paste, which limits ingredients and is free of many concerning chemicals, making it a parent favorite in our tests. Plus, the price is low enough for the tightest of budgets.

kids toothpaste - good for the tightest budget
The fruit fusion flavor of the Burts Bees paste was a hit or miss with testers but the real problem is the thin paste that can get messy quickly for younger users.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Popular Name Brand Selection

ACT Kids Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste

Dye: Yes | Added Sweetener: Sucralose/Sorbitol/Sodium Saccharin
Easy-to-use tube
Kid-friendly taste
Includes SLS
Artificial colors and sweeteners

The ACT Kids Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste is a well-known name brand in oral care. This paste comes in three flavors: 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. Natural alternatives would include Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste and Hello Oral Care. However, if you want an easy-to-find-and-use paste that kids will like, then ACT might be a good one to try.

kids toothpaste - popular name brand selection
The ACT brand toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors including grape and watermelon, which kids seem to really like. Parents, however, may not like everything in the ingredient list including dyes, SLS, and artificial flavors.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Impressive Natural Option

Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper

Dye: No | Added Sweetener: Sorbitol/Xylitol/Stevia
Easy-to-use tube
Old-fashioned lid
Off-white color

The Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper is a natural gel toothpaste free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or sweeteners. It is an off-white color, thicker, and less messy than some competition. This flavor is "not yucky grape." 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 transparent, 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. Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste also sports an off-white color, but testers liked the taste and got used to it over time.

kids toothpaste
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Xylitol Considerations

Spry Toothpaste

Dye: Yes? | Added Sweetener: Xylitol/Stevia
Easy to use
Enticing color
Possible dye use
Disappointing flavor

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 OK 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 coming from anything natural. The flavor was also snubbed by more than one of our testers. Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste and Hello Oral Care flavors were more readily liked, and Tom's is xylitol-free. In the end, it isn't a top pick for most families, but if xylitol is essential to your dental hygiene routine, it may be a contender for cavity prevention.

kids toothpaste - spry bubblegum paste was a hit or miss with our testers with some...
Spry bubblegum paste was a hit or miss with our testers with some feeling like the flavor had a mint aftertaste or more of a "spicy feel" on their tongue. This could mean it isn't the best choice for younger children who often have an aversion to such flavors.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Popular Character Option

Crest Kid's Toothpaste Pump

Dye: Yes | Added Sweetener: Sucralose/Sorbitol/Sodium Saccharine
Popular characters
Desirable taste
Hard to use
Includes dyes, flavor, & SLS

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 made it a popular choice right out of the testing gate.

Unfortunately, this pump is tough to use. Our 9-year-old tester couldn't 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 worsens over time. This paste also contains SLS, which isn't necessary for clean teeth and isn't included in much competition. They also list "flavor" as an ingredient without information on what this is. Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste has natural flavors and more transparency on their ingredient list if this is important to you. We aren't sure that the Crest paste is a great pick for most families unless you need the character endorsement to get child compliance with brushing.

kids toothpaste - while little ones were drawn to the character designs on the crest...
While little ones were drawn to the character designs on the Crest pump toothpaste, we feel the design of the pump is extremely hard to use, and it got messy quickly during testing requiring frequent clean-ups and resulting in wasted paste.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Popular Name Brand

Colgate kids

Dye: Yes | Added Sweetener: Sodium Saccharine
Contains dyes
Contains SLS

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 this option because it 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 being gluten-free. Also, it uses saccharine for flavor, and some parents might not feel comfortable with this additive. Hello Oral Care and Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste both offer more natural ingredients, and Tom's is xylitol-free if you have pets.

kids toothpaste - this gel colgate toothpaste has a traditional lid that got pretty...
This gel Colgate toothpaste has a traditional lid that got pretty messy during testing.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Simple Tube with a Name You Know

Kid's Crest Cavity Protection

Dye: Yes | Added Sweetener: Sorbital
Easy to use
No xylitol
Contains SLS
Includes dye

The Kid's Crest Cavity Protection is an ADA-accepted bright-colored toothpaste, 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 budget-friendly price tag.

This toothpaste contains SLS and other dyes and flavors that might concern some parents, so it is something to consider if it is important to you. We like that this paste is xylitol-free, making 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, etc.

kids toothpaste - the bright pink color of this crest toothpaste was well-liked by...
The bright pink color of this Crest toothpaste was well-liked by testers, but the bubblegum flavor isn't for everyone, especially kids unfamiliar with gum.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

kids toothpaste - our brave testers took on the challenge of using each and every...
Our brave testers took on the challenge of using each and every paste in this lineup so you get the real skinny on flavor, consistency, and a child's seal of approval.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

Why You Should Trust Us

We researched different brands of paste, looking for those with fewer additives and chemicals and those that are popular with the younger crowd and parents before making our selections. 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.

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. As a parent, she also might have been included by how messy these lid-and-paste tubes could get under regular use.

Kids assess everything when it comes to what they put in their mouth...
Kids assess everything when it comes to what they put in their mouth and how a toothpaste smells is almost as important as how it tastes and what it looks like.
We let kids use the tubes themselves when age-appropriate to get a...
We let kids use the tubes themselves when age-appropriate to get a good feel on how well the tubes and paste work over time and which options just ended up being a big mess.

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 preference, and budget in this excellent product lineup.

kids toothpaste - the more well-known brand name pastes you likely used as a kid have...
The more well-known brand name pastes you likely used as a kid have more concerning ingredients than the natural-based options in this review.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

A Word on Flouride
In our selection for kids' toothpaste, we chose options containing 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 a toothpaste for toddlers and babies who might accidentally swallow toothpaste while brushing, you might consider a fluoride-free alternative. However, please remember that fluoride helps prevent cavities and is a part of good oral hygiene. If you have concerns or questions about which type is best for your little one, consult their pediatrician or dentist for further advice for your specific child.

kids toothpaste
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Now more than ever, parents are making thoughtful product selections with consideration for health and the environment. We suspect toothpaste ingredients are no exception, and we at BabyGearLab tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to ingredients and chemicals, with a trend toward a less-is-more approach. 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.

What is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)?
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. For this reason, it is commonly found in beauty and cleaning products. 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 with 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, a product free of SLS might be worth considering. Some parents hope to avoid 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.

kids toothpaste - the "not yucky grape" flavor of the natural dentist brand paste was...
The "not yucky grape" flavor of the Natural Dentist brand paste was well received but not liked as much as the grape flavor of the ACT brand.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

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.

kids toothpaste - hello has a great raspberry flavor ou testers loved and it lacks...
Hello has a great raspberry flavor ou testers loved and it lacks many of the ingredients some parents hope to avoid.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

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 the icing on the cake of this excellent option. Even after trying different flavors over the years, they largely appreciate the flavors without complaint. Burts Bess also boasts an impressive "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.

kids toothpaste - accidents happen, even in well-informed and well-intentioned homes...
Accidents happen, even in well-informed and well-intentioned homes, and dogs can gain access to toothpaste before you know it. Pastes containing xylitol create a potential health risk for dogs if ingested, including liver failure and death. If you have dogs, you should seriously consider the potential risk in your home before buying any product containing xylitol.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

Xylitol and Pet Safety
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. Still, 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 choose a xylitol product and 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.

kids toothpaste - each paste in our lineup was heavily scrutinized by experienced...
Each paste in our lineup was heavily scrutinized by experienced brushers for both taste and texture during our hands-on testing.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

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 inadequate brushing at best. We tried to choose various products and flavors for kids to help provide something for everyone, no matter what flavors they may like best. In general, toothpaste for kids doesn't come in mint flavors, and as such, you won't find mint represented in our sample. However, testers and parents alike felt that some of the bubblegum options had a "mint" or "spicy" zing or aftertaste. This feedback 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 see outside of bubblegum. Luckily, many bubblegum-flavored brands also come in other flavors you can try if the ingredient list checks the boxes you want. Crest, Colgate, and Spry offer more than one flavor option, though finding non-bubblegum varieties of Crest and Colgate for Kids can be more challenging. Spry offers a tropical fruit flavor we didn't test, and Crest has a "Sparkle Fun Flavor," whatever that is.

kids toothpaste - testers found the pump on the crest pump toothpaste to be...
Testers found the pump on the Crest Pump toothpaste to be challenging to use on their own leading to frustration during testing and messes over time.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

The popular flavors with our testers included strawberry, Grape, and fruit. However, not all flavors are created equal. Multiple kids liked 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. It now comes in watermelon and strawberry options as well. The 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 typically used. 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 mouths before the paste ended up everywhere. One tester refused even to try the Kiss My Face Gentle Toothpaste as the color is an off-yellowish brown that looks like a rotten 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.

kids toothpaste - the consistency of the act product was well-liked and stuck to the...
The consistency of the ACT product was well-liked and stuck to the brush fairly well during testing.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz

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 remember 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.

Other Oral Hygiene Products
Whether you are just setting up your toothbrushing routine or are old hats looking for something new, we have the bathroom gear to outfit your toothbrushing game. Select either a top-ranked electric toothbrush for kids or the best baby toothbrush, and don't forget to give the "between the teeth space" some love with kids flossers.
kids toothpaste - getting kids to brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice a day doesn't...
Getting kids to brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice a day doesn't have to be a pain. With the right paste and the right taste, they might just be volunteering to brush.
Credit: Wendy Schmitz


Hunting down a toothpaste your children will love to use with ingredients you feel good about can be harder than you expect. With so many potential options to choose from, it isn't always straightforward to find one that includes the ingredients you want and omits those you don't. Add to that finding a paste and package children find interesting with a taste they will tolerate makes it even more difficult. In our exhaustive clean teeth testing using picky kids with plenty of opinions, we received direct feedback on taste, consistency, and which pastes they'd voluntarily choose. We think there is a toothpaste for every little person in this lineup, no matter what flavor or ingredient list is important to you, your child, or your budget.

Wendy Schmitz