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With Fluoride Toothpaste for Kids, More Isn’t Better

  • March 26, 2019

In the land of value meals and Big Gulps, more is usually considered better. You might think the same is true of toothpaste. If a little is good for your teeth, a lot is even better. Right?

Actually, no. Too much fluoride toothpaste for kids isn’t good for your children’s teeth. An excess of fluoride in young children can result in dental fluorosis, a condition that results in white spots and streaks on teeth, and sometimes in unsightly brown discoloration. Unlike surface stains caused by dark liquids, this discoloration will not respond well to teeth whitening treatments. It can also damage the enamel of teeth.

A new Centers for Disease Control study found that about 40 percent of children between the ages of 3-6 are using more than the recommended amount of toothpaste. We’re happy to show you how much toothpaste to use on your child’s teeth or answer any other questions you have. Just give us a call at 828-355-5673 to make an appointment.

How Much Fluoride Toothpaste for Kids Is Too Much?

You shouldn’t even begin using fluoride toothpaste when you clean your child’s teeth until they are 2 years old. Then until your child is 3, use only a tiny amount of toothpaste when brushing your child’s teeth, about the size of a grain of rice. Kids ages 3-6 should use a pea-sized blob of paste.

According to the CDC study, which used data provided by 5,000 parents or other caregivers of children, about 40 percent of kids used too much toothpaste. Nearly 20 percent of them completely filled their brushes. In fact, even adults don’t need a large amount of toothpaste to get their teeth clean and bacteria-free.

Consuming too much fluoride is only an issue if it happens consistently. So it’s important to help your child use the right amount of paste and learn to spit it out instead swallowing it. We suggest brushing teeth together until you can ensure your child is using good oral hygiene habits.

Is Too Much Fluoride Toothpaste for Kids Dangerous?

You may be mildly alarmed to see a warning label on your fluoride toothpaste. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required these labels since 1997. Most folks won’t have to worry, though, because it’d be difficult for most kids to consume enough fluoride to pose an immediate danger.

A pea-sized amount of toothpaste contains abou 0.24 milligrams of fluoride, which is roughly the same as a glass of tap water. According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, the lethal dose for  a 22-pound child is 320 milligrams, or more than two full tubes of toothpaste.

Few children would eat that much toothpaste, even if it was a kid-friendly flavor. Still, it’s a good idea to keep fluoride toothpaste where your young children can’t get to it on their own.

How to Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth

When your kids are very young, you may have to worry less about over consumption of fluoride and more about just getting their teeth clean. Many toddlers aren’t crazy about getting their teeth brushed. Try these tips:

  • Let her practice brushing on a stuffed animal or a doll – or even on you. Take turns, first brushing her teeth, then letting her do yours.
  • Make it more fun by brushing all over his body and ask “is this where I should brush” before ending up on the teeth.
  • Sing a song while brushing. This not only makes it more fun but lets your child know the brushing will stop when the song ends.
  • Brush together while looking into a mirror so he can model your technique.
  • Make a game of it. For instance, tell her you’ve got to get the “sugar bugs” out of her mouth.

If you have any more questions on fluoride toothpaste for kids or need to make an appointment for your child, Call our Boone, NC dental office today at 828-355-5673.

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