Many folks believe you can never be too rich or too thin. When in fact, sometimes too much of a good thing becomes, well, not so good.
The fluoride in toothpaste and much of our water supply protects us from cavities and decay, but too much fluoride can be a problem, especially for kids. If your kids are using too much toothpaste, it could be ruining their oral health.
So, how much is too much?
Recent CDC Report
A February 2019 report by the CDC suggests that children are using too much toothpaste when they brush. In fact, this “too much of a good thing” can be causing harm to their teeth. If a child uses too much fluoride, their enamel can become discolored or it can cause pitting or streaks on teeth. This is also known as dental fluorosis.
Growing Kids = Growing Teeth
A child’s teeth continue to develop while they are under the gums and until children are about eight years old. Then it takes another three years for teeth to fully mature. If they have been using too much toothpaste during this time, they can develop dental fluorosis and interrupt the development of their enamel.
In addition, swallowing toothpaste is another component of this problem. Children have not yet mastered the reflex action that prevents swallowing the toothpaste as they brush, so they are also ingesting even more by swallowing instead of rinsing and spitting.
What’s A Parent To Do?
Recommendations to prevent dental fluorosis in kids include the following:
- Parents should begin to brush their young one’s teeth as soon as they erupt.
- Brush twice a day until they are about three years old
- Then supervise their brushing after age three
- From eruption to age three, only use the amount of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice
- After age three children should be brushing with an amount of toothpaste the size of a pea
- Don’t let your child use a fluoride rinse until at least six years old to prevent swallowing
Don’t panic if you or your child has been using too much toothpaste. It was discovered that about 40% of kids use too much. Just readjust now to the appropriate amount. Check with your dentist if this is a concern for you.
Adolescents and adults use more toothpaste than they actually need as well. Best practice is a thin ribbon across the brush, not a giant clump.
Becoming too thin can become a problem, just like too much toothpaste. The jury is still out concerning the rich part.
See your dentist within six months after the first tooth erupts or no later than age one. Contact Dr. Robinette if you have questions about your child’s oral health.