In an article from Metro Parent, Dr. Elizabeth spoke about how using too much toothpaste can affect kids and their teeth.
A recent survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that kids may be using too much toothpaste. This report found that kids ages 3 to 6 are using too much toothpaste when brushing, exposing themselves to too much fluoride.
What does that mean for children’s dental health?
Fluoride is great and effective in fighting and preventing tooth decay, but too much exposure can augment teeth still developing below the gum line. Damages include lines and streaks, discoloration, and even dental fluorosis – a condition where the tooth enamel forms incorrectly and displays a pitted appearance.
What parents should be watchful about
In the article, Dr. Elizabeth is quoted as saying, “Parents don’t need to worry, but they need to be aware of the possibility of (kids) ingesting too much fluoride from toothpaste” when adult teeth are forming under the gums.
Young kids often end up swallowing their toothpaste. “Parents need to be vigilant,” Dr. Elizabeth says. The recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists is to introduce a thin bristle top smear of toothpaste around age 1 and to supervise the amount of toothpaste children place on the bristles when they start to do it themselves. It is also important that parents encourage their children to spit out the excess toothpaste after brushing.
The effects of too much fluoride is “not a functional concern,” Dr. Elizabeth says, “but an aesthetic concern.” The American Dental Association confirms this, saying fluorosis doesn’t affect tooth function. Any damage associated with excess fluoride is often so subtle only dentists can see it during an examination, and although not looking as perfect as we want them to be, the teeth comes out more resistant to decay.
Once teeth have come out of the gums, they’re safe from fluorosis because the enamel formation process is complete.
The right amount of toothpaste
Dr. Elizabeth recommends that parents supervise brushing, to make sure kids spit and use the right amount of toothpaste.
Dr. Elizabeth says, “Children under 3 years should use a smear the size of a rice grain and children 3 to 6 years should use no more than a pea-sized amount on their toothbrush.”
Dr. Elizabeth also suggests that parents discuss concerns about fluoride with their dentists and primary care physicians. Aside from toothpaste, fluoridated water and fluoride tablets can also lead to too much fluoride.
Parents can also choose non-fluoride toothpastes for their kids, and simply go to the dentist for dental sealants or fluoride applications for their kids’ teeth.
Pediatric Dentists and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan are passionate about these topics and it’s an honor to serve as experts in the community. We do honor parent requests with regard to fluoride and are happy to provide and discuss scientifically investigated and validated information on this topic upon request.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.