At What Age Should Children Begin Using Fluoride Toothpaste

There seems to be a bit of a debate over fluoride, or the safety of fluoride toothpaste for children and at what age they should begin to use it. However, according to the ADA (American Dental Association) the use of fluoride is still recommended for children (and adults). The concern is over the “correct” use of the fluoride.

Is Fluoride Toothpaste Safe for Babies, Toddlers then Older Children as Well?

As we all know – good oral health is vital from the get-go– even before teeth come in. Just take a soft cloth and wipe out the baby’s mouth gently. This is what our parents did to us, and what we have been told by countless of other people to do. However, the AAOP (American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend switching to the toothbrush and the fluoride toothpaste routine. The recommendation is that babies require an extraordinarily small amount, and by small – the recommendation is you should use nothing larger than the size of an average grain of rice. Prior to this, it was suggested that parents only use a fluoride free toothpaste in toddlers under the age of two.

There is a concern that if fluoride it is dangerous if swallowed, but it is suggested that to reduce the odds of swallowing – you should try and angle your child’s body and head down and forward slightly so the extra toothpaste falls out of the mouth naturally. What if the baby does swallow the fluoride? As long as you used the correct amount, you should be OK. If, however, a larger amount is swallowed, it may be that they just develop a small tummy ache, this is not harmful, but you can always call poison control if needed and for some extra reassurance.

What About Fluoride for Young Children?

Children begin to develop spit between the ages of 2-3, so it is at this age that the AAOP recommends that you can put fluoride on a baby’s toothbrush. The recommended age for children under the age of three is usually around a pea sized amount. Of course, you should avoid any going into the stomach if possible, it is “safe” for your children to swallow that amount and there be no problems. Note: Never let your child apply the toothpaste (fluoridated) by themselves to their toothbrush without direct parental or guardian supervision. If by chance your child does swallow more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride, again, they might have an upset stomach. Should this happen, the National Capital Poison Center says that parents should give children a glass of milk. The milk, or any other dairy product, will bind to the fluoride that has been ingested by accident. If, for instance, however, the child regularly somehow ingests fluoride on a continual basis then something needs to be done. The excess fluoride can cause damage your child’s tooth enamel and leads to a condition called, Fluorosis. Fluorosis is when there are white stains on the teeth. However, you want to do keep supervising your child’s brushing until they reach an appropriate age.

If you would like to move about when and how to properly use fluoride toothpaste with your children, contact River Valley Smile Center today at 479.646.0706!

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