When it comes to kids, most parents are unsure of how much toothpaste to apply during tooth brushing. Applying too much or too little toothpaste during brushing of teeth can significantly affect our oral health, especially in kids.
Is fluoride bad for you?
Fluoride is one of the active ingredients in toothpaste. According to American Dental Association, fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter. It helps prevent cavities by strengthening the outer layer of teeth (enamel) against the acid produced by bacteria in our mouth (after consumption of sugar).
Health effects of too much or too little fluoride in toothpaste
Too little toothpaste/fluoride (fluoride deficiency): Applying too little toothpaste during brushing can result in low fluoride in our teeth, increasing one’s risk for cavities.
Too much toothpaste/fluoride (hyperflorosis): In kids below the age of 8 years, when teeth are developing, applying too much toothpaste during brushing can result in ingesting a lot of fluoride. This increases one’s risk of Dental fluorosis, which can lead to unattractive white patches on the enamel. These white patches on the enamel is known as hypomineralization of enamel. Apart from being unattractive, if fluorosis is high, it can cause a weak enamel.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40% of children between the ages of 3 and 6 years are using too much toothpaste, predisposing them to Dental Fluorosis.
What amount of toothpaste is safe?
Due to the risk of fluorosis and fluoride poisoning in kids, it is advised to supervise children during brushing.
0 to 2 years: For children less that the age of 2 years, a smear of fluoride toothpaste should be used.
3 to 6 years: No more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used
Adults: Pea-sized amount of tooth paste, and not a large blob
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Dental Association, a smear of fluoride toothpaste can be used on babies as soon as a tooth erupts in the mouth.
Where else can I find fluoride?
Apart from toothpaste, fluoride is in community water. In the US, as a public health effort to reduce the risk of cavities by primary prevention methods, fluoride at 0.7 milligrams per liter of water is being added to community water (water from the faucet).
Fluoride can also be obtained from the dentist as a prescription supplement (tablet, drop or lozenge form) or treatment, in the form of gel, varnish or foam.
Speak with your dentist about your options.
At Smile League Dental, your education and health is our priority. We offer FREE fluoride treatment, based on certain specials or discounts. Give us a call today to discuss your options. Call 815-782-6243 for more information or visit smileleaguedental.com.