What type of toothpaste should my child brush with?
It’s one of the first questions parents ask themselves and their dentists when they begin teaming with their children on the care of their new teeth. The American Dental Association advises parents go with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth comes in.
It may just be the simplest anion of fluorine, but fluoride is a highly-recommended cavity fighter for young children due to the alarming number of American children suffering from untreated tooth decay. Research by HealthyChild.org shows fluoride can help reduce cavities in children by up to 30 percent.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting more than 16 million children in the USA. Annually, oral disease causes children to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to use 25 million work hours. Additionally, oral disease unevenly afflicts children from low-income families. These children have almost twice the number of decayed teeth that have not been treated by a dentist as compared to those of the general population.
“Approximately 25 percent of children have or had cavities before entering kindergarten, so it’s important to provide guidance to caregivers on the appropriate use of fluoride toothpaste to help prevent their children from developing cavities,” said Edmond Truelove, D.D.S., chair of the ADA’s CSA.
Remember, for young children, toothpaste serving size matters. Children younger than three need a toothpaste application only the size of a grain of rice mixed with water, according to application recommendations by the ADA’s Council of Scientific Affairs. For children ages 3-6, a pea-size amount is recommended.
As Web MD notes, “Young children often swallow toothpaste and swallowing too much fluoride can lead to tooth discoloration in permanent teeth.”
The ADA’s fluoride report’s title notes, “Fluoride toothpaste use (is for) young children.” For fluoride is on kids’ side from their first tooth’s first day.