Many parents are not clear on what kind of toothpaste they should use to brush their young children’s teeth. This is especially in light of the fear of the children swallowing fluoride from fluoridated toothpaste. Should they use training toothpaste until the child learns to spit? No.
Studies clearly show that when used appropriately and incorrect amounts, fluoridated toothpaste is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay in preschool children. Indeed, America’s largest dentist group, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advise parents to start using fluoridated toothpaste from when the first tooth appears in the mouth.
These amounts are effective in preventing decay yet small enough to reduce the risk of fluorosis, white spots on teeth caused by ingesting high levels of fluoride at a young age. Parental regulation of the number of toothpaste amounts and their involvement in brushing is key. The effect of fluoride in toothpaste is maximized if used to brush 2 times a day – after breakfast and before bedtime.
Scheduling dental visits by a child’s first birthday allow parents and pediatric dentists to discuss early preventive care, healthy diet, and other individualized ways to keep each child’s teeth healthy and cavity-free.