Many children use so much toothpaste it’s unhealthy, experts warn

Grant Boone
February 5, 2019

Fluoride is a mineral found in water and soil.

A pediatric dentist in Chicago, Mary Hayes told Daily Mail that "Fluoride is an wonderful benefit but it must be used carefully". Also the type of toothpaste (fluoride or non-fluoride containing) was not taken into account. Granted, parents use only water to brush, it is still crucial to note that children under the age of 3 should have only a rice-grain size toothpaste on their brushes. Pediatric dentist further said, "You don't want them eating toothpaste like food".

The new study did not follow the kids through time or try to determine how many developed streaked or spotty teeth as a result of using too much toothpaste.

While the dental association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry offer conflicting advice on when exactly to begin brushing your child's teeth with fluoride toothpaste, it is most important to ensure that you are using the right quantity so that your child won't swallow too much, according to Dr. Shenkin. More than 70 years ago, scientists discovered that people whose drinking water naturally had more fluoride also had fewer cavities.

In 2014, the dental association changed its guidelines and recommended that parents brush their children's teeth twice a day with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste as soon as they erupt. Additionally, participants were not asked to specify whether the toothpaste had fluoride.

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The CDC study, which was based on more than 5,000 children from ages 3 to 15, also found that almost 80 percent of children included in the analysis started brushing later than recommended.

But too much fluoride when teeth are forming can lead to tooth streaking or spottiness - known as dental fluorosis.

"The findings suggest that children and adolescents are engaging in appropriate daily preventive dental health practices", the authors write, "however, implementation of recommendations is not optimal".

Limitations of this survey were that parents self reported the brushing habits of their kids and were not observed first hand.

The study found about 60 per cent of kids brushed their teeth twice a day.

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