There is constant concern and debate about whether or not young children should use toothpaste, should it have fluoride and how much should they use. Parents are generally worried that their child will swallow toothpaste, and therefore, have too much fluoride. The American Dental Associate Council on Scientific Affairs has completed a study on fluoride toothpaste use for children under the age of six.
New guidelines for brushing with fluoride
The conclusion of the study was that all children should use fluoride toothpaste, but the amount used should vary. In the past, a “pea-sized amount” was recommended; however, this has been reduced for younger children. The new guidelines are as follows:
- For children younger than 3 years old: as soon as teeth appear, they should have their teeth brushed with a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste or the size of a grain of rice. It is necessary to brush twice a day and to supervise children while brushing.
- For children 3 to 6 years of age: a “pea-sized amount” of fluoride toothpaste should be used twice a day. It is important to supervise children’s brushing to prevent the swallowing of toothpaste.
Brushing twice daily AND supervising your child is critical. How many of us have children that chew and suck on the toothbrush, but don’t move the brush around to remove plaque? Demonstrate how to brush all the teeth and then allow your child to do the same.
Image: “Smear” toothpaste for 0-3 year olds and “pea-sized” toothpaste for 3-6 year olds