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4 Tips For Using Fluoride Toothpaste For Your Toddler

Historically, the American Dental Association has recommended not using fluoride toothpaste in young children who are under two years of age, for fear that they would swallow it and cause fluorosis in their permanent teeth, which are still developing at that age. However, in 2014, the ADA updated their advice, recommending the use of fluoride toothpaste in small amounts as soon as a child's baby teeth erupt. This is to help combat childhood cavities. Unfortunately, many parents still do not know about this recommendation or are hesitant to use fluoride toothpaste for their young children. Here are some tips and guidelines that can help you to get more comfortable with the idea and to use fluoride toothpaste efficiently. 

Use the Right Amount of Toothpaste 

The ADA recommends a small amount of fluoride toothpaste for children. For children under three, an amount the size of a grain of rice is recommended. For those between 3-6, the amount of a size of a pea is recommended at each brushing. This recommendation assumes that you are brushing your child's teeth the recommended 2-3 times a day. If you only brush once a day, you should try to brush more often and you may consider using slightly more toothpaste until you begin that habit. 

Use the Right Kind of Toothpaste 

There are several fluoride toothpastes on the market. However, research shows that toothpaste with between 1000-1100 ppm of fluoride content is the most effective at preventing cavities, while not causing extreme fluorosis. Although they are not common in the United States, you may find some children's toothpaste that has lower amounts of fluoride. These are not a good idea unless you are brushing your child's teeth more often then recommended, such as after each snack. Even then, it is a better idea to use the toothpaste with higher fluoride content 2-3 times a day and simply use water to brush your child's teeth at other times. 

To make sure that you have a good fluoride toothpaste, choose one that has the ADA seal of approval. This means that the fluoride content has been appropriately measured and any dental claims on the packaging are true. 

Avoid Your Child's Favorite Flavors 

Children's toothpaste comes in many appealing flavors. While this might seem like a good way to get your child to brush their teeth, it can often have negative consequences. For example, your child may put too much toothpaste on their toothbrush or might immediately suck the toothpaste off of the toothbrush and swallow it when you or they begin brushing their teeth. To avoid this, select a toothpaste that has a flavor your child does not like as much. You may want to choose a slightly minty toothpaste that is not overly strong but that does not have any fruity or sweet flavors in it. 

Allow Toothpaste to Remain On the Teeth for an Extended Period of Time 

If your child is at risk for early childhood cavities or is currently showing evidence of early childhood cavities, you may want to leave the fluoride toothpaste on their teeth for an extended period of time. To do this, brush your child's teeth as you normally would and have them spit out any excess toothpaste. However, do not allow them to immediately rinse their mouth with water. Instead, wait at least ten minutes before having them rinse. If they are under three and using only a small amount of toothpaste, you may choose not to rinse their mouth at all, as the recommendations assume that they will swallow the majority of their toothpaste. 

Using fluoride is an important way to protect your child's teeth from cavities. However, it is important that you do so correctly and work with a family dentist from an office like All About Smiles Incorporated to develop the best oral care routine for your child.