Many young children are using more toothpaste than is needed. Is your child one of them?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a study indicating that nearly 40 percent of the three- to six-year-olds studied were using more toothpaste than recommended by dental professionals.
Swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause dental fluorosis, a condition causing discoloration of teeth including white lines and streaks. Fluorosis only affects children because damage only occurs while teeth are developing under gums.
How much toothpaste?
First Impressions reminds parents that children three years and older should use a pea-size squeeze of toothpaste.
Children under three should only use a small smear of toothpaste – like a grain of rice. Use an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts.
Pediatric dentists also urge parents to understand that the study reminds parents of the proper amount of fluoride toothpaste to use. They should not to stop using fluoride toothpaste altogether.
Interestingly, the CDC also discovered that nearly 80 percent of children studied began brushing their teeth later than recommended. The American Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that parents begin brushing their child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts. Sometimes this happens as early as six months, but usually not past one year old. Yet only about 20 percent of the parents included in the report said they helped their child brush their teeth by age one.
One caveat: the report relied on parents self-reporting the information. The researchers did not directly observe the brushing technique and toothpaste use of the children. It’s possible that parents may misinterpret how much toothpaste their children are really using.
How old should children be before they brush without supervision? Parents should stick around until at least age six.
(Similar to a pediatrician, pediatric dentists and orthodontists specialize in oral health for children from infancy through adolescence. Pediatric dentists attend two additional years of specialized training in children’s behavior, growth, and development.)
This first visit is full of valuable information about the proper way to clean infant teeth, feeding habits, and pacifier use. First Impressions calls this protocol Best Care. This conversation between dentist and parent/caregiver sets toddlers up for greater success when it comes to their dental health and healthy habits as they grow. Establishing healthy habits early is integral to preventing decay and maintaining oral health.
This first appointment also includes an exam. Thereafter, exams are typically only needed yearly until the child reaches age three.
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your children healthy and happy. Thankfully, when it comes to your children’s dental care and taking care of that precious smile, there are pediatric dentists available to provide the best care possible.
So what exactly is a pediatric dentist, and what do they do?
What sets apart pediatric dentists from general dentists is their training. Pediatric dentists received additional instruction on managing pediatric oral conditions, in addition to 2-3 years of specialized training in children’s behavior, growth, and development. This specialty training allows them to develop a deep understanding of the care of children. The pediatric dentists at First Impressions recognize no two children are alike. We approach each patient individually – and identify and address your child’s specific needs and personality.
You’ll also find that the atmosphere inside a pediatric dentist office is tailored toward kids, from the furnishings to the demeanor of the hygienists and assistants. At First Impressions, everything was designed to make going to the dentist an anxiety-free experience – from the brightly-colored walls and child-sized furniture to the iPads in the waiting room. “Because children are our sole focus, we make sure that everything we do is tailored to their needs and comfort,” says Dr. Tom Turner, Pediatric Dentist and Owner.
All of this is done so you can be confident your children are given expert care in a patient and understanding environment. Having positive experiences at the dentist in childhood helps establish a lifelong healthy approach to regular dental visits. And that’s something to smile about!