Scrub what you thought you knew about young children and toothpaste. The latest recommendations on oral hygiene say it is okay for tiny tots to use fluoridated toothpaste.
“We’ve known for a long time that fluoride prevents cavities and after looking through all of the data we have new recommendations that as soon as the teeth come out we should start using fluoride to protect against cavities,” says Lee Memorial Health System family physician Dr. Christina Cavanagh, “because the risk of overdosing from fluoride in those small amounts is extremely low.”
It’s an about-face from what parents practiced for years. Using toothpastes designed for kids that got them familiar with brushing, but did little to help their health.
“You can really harbor a large amount of bacteria in your mouth and that can affect your overall health, your immune system, chances of getting colds and sick.”
Moving forward parents may need to brush up on their toothpaste basics. By two years old children can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste - provided they won’t swallow it. Before two, parents need to carefully control the amount of fluoride they’re getting.
“At that age they’re not going to be able to spit the toothpaste back out. That’s why it’s really important that parents regulate how much toothpaste they’re giving them,” says Dr. Cavanagh. “So a grain-sized amount for the toothpaste - really just a teeny smidge is all you need.”
With a quarter of our kids having their first cavity before kindergarten, dentists and pediatricians felt it was time to speak up and help kids avoid a lifetime of decay.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.