How to Protect Your Kid’s Teeth on the Cheap
Buying dental care products can be a huge hassle. You go to the store, you look at the isle and you see dozens, if not hundreds of products you can choose from. Each one has bright, glowing labels about why they’re the best and how you need them for their teeth.
And it’s a bunch of lies.
You can keep your kid’s teeth complete, 100% healthy for only $20 per year. Below we’ll take a look at the breakdown.
Before we go into the price breakdown, we’ll add this note. Often times your dentist will give you products for free whenever you go for a checkup. It’s pretty common you’ll get a free toothbrush, free floss and a tiny package of toothpaste. Use this! And, if you’ve got several kids, ask for more! Dentists can get these items for very cheap and will more often than not be delighted about helping your kids keep their teeth clean. This alone can entirely remove the cost of toothbrushes and floss often times.
Toothpaste itself is a total nightmare to look through. There are different ways to make whiter teeth, cavities, gum health, bad breath, overall oral health… the list goes on and on. The basic idea is fluoride. That’s it. Don’t spent crazy amounts of money on some super special formula. It doesn’t really do that much more. If your dentist recommends some special, definitely take their recommendation. Otherwise, just get a fluoride based toothpaste and be done with it.
The main thing to look for with toothpaste is the price per ounce. The lower that value, the better the price. Below we’ve got the cheapest price we could find on the internet. Keep in mind that these prices do not include shipping or tax.
Recommendation: Aim Cavity Protection Toothpaste
By far and away the cheapest toothpaste we could find is the Aim Cavity Protection Toothpaste from Target. This option comes in at 14.5 cents per ounce, which is far cheaper than any other paste that we found. In addition, the next cheapest options were both whitening toothpastes, which children shouldn’t be using. The abrasives will do more harm than good to their teeth. Stick with Aim Cavity Protection an you’ll keep their teeth clean as a whistle. As a side note, the tube size of Aim Cavity Protection Toothpaste is a bit smaller (6 oz) so you’ll probably need three or four for a full year.
Nowadays there are tons of crazy toothbrush options. You can easily spend $200 on an electric toothbrush that has supersonic technology, on-device timers, 8 replaceable brush head options. Etc. The thing is, we’ve been using manual toothbrushes for a long time and they still work pretty well. Yes, clinical studies show that electric toothbrushes do clean better, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have healthy teeth without them. The biggest part of tooth health comes from brushing twice a day for two minutes each. No matter what toothbrush you’ve got, if you do that and use a fluoride based toothpaste, your teeth will be healthy.
Suggestion: Colgate Extra Clean Medium Toothbrush
The cheapest option we found for a toothbrush package was the Colgate Extra Clean Medium Toothbrush pack on Amazon. Keep in mind that you’ll need to replace your toothbrush every three or so months. This pack includes four toothbrushes, so you’ll only need on pack for each member of your family. These toothbrushes come in at 65 cents per brush.
Floss is a bit trickier to figure out, because they come in price per yard. According to general dentistry recommendations, you should use about 10cm of floss (about 4 inches) per use. This means that you’ll get around 9 flosses per yard. Generally, dentists recommend for you to floss once per day, so you’ll need about 41 yards of floss per year.
As you look at floss options, you’ll find a number of floss picks. These are really convenient, but they’re significantly more expensive and pretty terrible for the environment (they’re all made individually from plastic and are one-use). If you’re trying to keep the price down, you’ll save significantly more money by going with standard string floss. Yes, there are super expensive options that will clean teeth better, but the idea here is the same as toothbrushes: string floss works just fine to clean teeth.
Suggestion: Equate Waxed Dental Floss
The cheapest floss we found was the Equate Waxed Dental Floss at Walmart. This 120 yard pack of floss is only 1.2 cents per yard. With 9 uses per yard, it comes out to about .13 cents per use. That’s pretty darn cheap. Also, keep in mind that 120 yards is way more than you’ll need for a year. This single package of floss will easily last you two years if you’re using it responsibly.
The biggest cost of your oral care routine will undoubtedly be mouthwash. When we ran the numbers, mouthwash came out to about $25 per year, even at its cheapest. Everything else combined is only about $20, so you can cut a lot out of your budget if you don’t get any.
Generally speaking, mouthwash is very helpful for oral health. Skipping it entirely is not recommended, but you can come up with better options on the cheap. The first is simply to use salt water. Just clear out an old bottle of ketchup and fill it with water. Add about one half teaspoon of salt per cup of water (8 ounces). Make sure to shake it up every morning before use to get everything mixed up well.
By Jeffery Williams for the Healthy Moms Magazine
Purveyor of clean teeth, healthy gums and super smiles, Jeffery Williams is a tried and true oral health expert. When he’s not researching and writing articles for his website, he’s out conquering the northern forests of Washington State with his wife Violet.
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