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How much toothpaste should my child use?
Most young children will swallow a small amount of toothpaste. Therefore, we recommend that children use a non-fluoridated toothpaste until about age three. Once they are able to spit, we recommend that parents place a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste on their brush. We encourage parents to supervise and aid their children's brushing until age eight.
Is fluoride harmful?
At therapeutic levels, such as in drinking water (not all cities have fluoride added in their water systems), fluoride has been shown to dramatically decrease the chance of developing tooth decay. The American Dental Association, US Center for Disease Control, and World Health Organization all provide overwhelming evidence that fluoride has benefited the oral health of many communities.
What is enamel fluorosis?
If a child gets too much fluoride during the years of tooth development, he or she may face the condition called enamel fluorosis. Fluorosis appears as white or brown markings on teeth and may appear pitted or rough in severe cases. This can happen in several different ways. First, a child may take more fluoride supplement than prescribed. Second, the child may take a supplement when there is already an optimal amount of fluoride in the water. Third, some children ingest an excess of fluoridated toothpaste. They may use too much toothpaste (a pea sized blob is all that is needed). Some children also like the taste so much that they swallow the toothpaste instead of spitting it out.
Although this risk exists, fluoride should not be avoided. It is important to get enough - but not too much- and we can help you accomplish that. We know this topic can be confusing. We welcome any questions you may have so that you can feel comfortable making an informed decision about your child's health.