Your Kids Oral Health Questions Answered

Punch & Judy was the first brand in the UK to bring in a flavoured toothpaste for kids, as an alternative to mint, in the 1950s. Many years and flavours later it is clear that the most important thing when choosing a flavoured toothpaste is that it is a mild and gentle taste.
Our most popular flavours are:

First – SIMPLE STRAWBERRY – available as a 0-2 years trainers or for 3+ years



Choosing the right toothpaste for kids is an inexact science and can be split into two parts. Firstly ensure the kids toothpaste you choose is right for the age of your child. This is so that you can be certain that the level of fluoride is at the recommended level, which will help prevent tooth decay.

Despite being avoidable, dental caries (the result of tooth decay) is one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions among kids. Regular (twice daily) brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is clinically proven to be the best way to avoid tooth decay.
For kids under three years old 1000ppmF is sufficient and for those over three years old 1000-1450ppmF is recommended.

Secondly choose a toothpaste with a taste they'll love.
This is because when we are born we have 30,000 tastebuds spread all around our mouths but by the time we reach adulthood we only have 10,000 (mainly concentrated on our tongues). This makes kids SUPERTASTERS.

They experience flavours more intensely than adults with a preference for sweet flavours – not because they like sugar particularly but because good things, like mother's milk, are sweet and most toxic foods are bitter. So being ultra sensitive to bitter tastes is nature's way of stopping kids from consuming something that is likely to be poisonous. That's why kids really don't like the harsh/bitter taste of mint flavoured toothpastes.

It is this insight and many years of experience, focussed on kids toothpaste, that makes Punch & Judy the best choice toothpaste for your kid; because your kid will love our flavours (one of them at least!).

As mentioned in the question "What's important when choosing the right toothpaste for kids?" there is a difference in how adults and kids taste.

Kids have three times the number of taste buds adults have. That makes them Supertasters!
They like the taste of sweet flavoured things, like strawberry, but hate harsh/bitter tastes like mint. It's nature's way of protecting babies from consuming bitter substances which could be poisonous.

As we grow older, our taste changes and we widen our repertoire. So kids like strawberry toothpaste but as they get older the taste becomes sickly sweet and they move on to mint.

The answer to this question is no. Most reputable brands of kids toothpaste that make flavoured varieties are sugar free.

Punch & Judy toothpastes are all SUGAR FREE but our advice is to always look for the sugar free claim on the pack of any kids toothpaste that you are thinking of buying. If there isn’t a claim of sugar free then it is possible that the toothpaste will contain sugar.

Most toothpastes do have sorbitol as an ingredient which some claim to be a sugar equivalent. Sorbitol, however, is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol which is used mainly to stop the toothpaste from drying out. Unlike sugar, sorbitol is not metabolised by oral bacteria and thus is considered to be non-cariogenic (doesn't lead to dental decay and carriers).

Using a so called sweet flavoured kids toothpaste is therefore equivalent to using a mint (flavoured) toothpaste; but is much better tolerated by kids, meaning they are more likely to brush their teeth –

Your kid will love the flavours of Punch & Judy – SUGAR FREE.

According to the official NHS guidance look for a kids toothpaste with 1000ppmF. Brushing regularly (twice a day) with a fluoride toothpaste is clinically proven to be the best way to prevent tooth decay and dental caries.

Next, choose a toothpaste with a flavour that your little one likes. Don't be afraid to try a few if the first one you try gets a negative reaction.

As mentioned in other Q&As, babies and toddlers are Supertasters, experiencing flavours more intensely than adults, so pick a gentle or mild flavour.

Make sure the brand you chose has a SUGAR FREE claim.

Firstly let us reassure you that you are not alone in finding brush time to be a battle. In recent surveys 35% of mums said they wished brushing their kids teeth was not such an adversarial affair and ranked it among the three most draining things they do with their kids – up there with getting them to eat their fruits and veggies and getting them to bed.

Here are some tips for turning the brush time battle into fun time:

1. Change your kid’s toothpaste. Try several flavours until you find one they like. Don’t worry if they love the strawberry flavoured toothpaste – as long as it is from a reputable brand and is Sugar Free. Then it is equivalent in every way to choosing a mint flavoured toothpaste.

2. Involve your kid in the process. Let them choose the flavour, get a little mirror which is theirs especially for brushing teeth and let them choose their favourite character toothbrush etc.

3. Get involved yourself. Let your kid "practice" on your teeth (it may be a bit messy but a bit of practice and a lot of praise go a long way). Then you do theirs as a quid pro quo.

4. Make brush time fun time by singing a song, telling a story or use a wallchart to assign stars and rewards for great brushing. When showing them how to brush accidentally brush your nose and say "that's the way to do it"? You'll get a big "Oh no it's not" in return.

5. If there is more than one sibling then get everyone to brush together (space allowing) so that the older ones reinforce what you are telling the younger ones.

In short the answer is Yes – and perhaps better.

Punch & Judy Fun Bubblegum flavoured toothpaste is sugar free and equivalent in every way to our Hint of Mint flavoured variety.

If kids like the flavour of Fun Bubblegum better than Hint of Mint you could say that more kids will want to brush their teeth with it. This is in fact the case. Fun Bubblegum is our second most popular flavour after Strawberry.

So if you try our flavours out on your kid and they like Fun Bubblegum, fantastic – you're happy that they will have great dental health and they're happy because they like the flavour.

Menthol, from peppermint, tricks the brain, sending a signal that creates a sensation that you have ice in your mouth. It's a refreshing and clean taste. That's why we (adults) prefer mint flavoured toothpastes.

Kids however find the taste of mint harsh/bitter and so are not keen on mint flavoured toothpastes. They instead prefer sweet flavours – which adults taste as sickly/sweet.
That's why the best selling toothpaste flavour for adults is Mint and that for kids is Strawberry.

Fluoride is the only natural ingredient that has a proven track record of preventing cavities. Toothpaste without fluoride cannot do a better job of giving you or your kids a healthy smile (or fighting cavities) than toothpaste with fluoride.

When used as advised, a smear for under 3 and a pea sized blob for over 3, fluoride is entirely safe even if your toddler does swallow some.

Only persistent ingestion of large amounts of toothpaste would potentially lead to health issues. Fluoride poisoning is quite unpleasant with the most likely symptom being a nasty tummy ache with potential vomiting and diarrhea. If ingestion is allowed to continue then dental fluorosis could occur. This is a streaking and spotting of the enamel and would need treatment from a dentist.

Children under 6 should be supervised when brushing their teeth and tubes of adult and kids toothpaste should be stored out of reach.

12 months