When Should Children Begin Using Fluoride Toothpaste?

Although general growth charts serve as a guide, babies and toddlers grow and develop at a varying rates, which means that teeth erupt a slightly different times for each child.  So how can you know when is the right time to start brushing a child’s teeth? And when is the correct time to begin using fluoride toothpaste?

Until recently, the American Dental Association recommended no fluoride toothpaste for children under two years of age. However, suggested guidelines have been altered recently:

For children younger than three years of age: Parents or caregivers should begin brushing teeth as soon as the teeth erupt.  Use a minimal amount of fluoride toothpaste – no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice – to clean the teeth. After brushing, encourage the child to spit or rinse, if possible.  Brush teeth twice daily or as directed by your child’s dentist.  Supervise tooth brushing to ensure thorough cleaning and that the correct amount of toothpaste is used.

For children three to six years of age: Parents or caregivers should aid the child in brushing with no more than a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste twice daily or as directed by your child’s dentist.  Again, encourage spitting and rinsing, and supervise tooth brushing to ensure thorough cleaning and that the correct amount of toothpaste is used.

Why is it important to use fluoride toothpaste? When your saliva has fluoride in it from sources like toothpaste or local water, your teeth are able to absorb it. Once in your tooth enamel, fluoride binds with calcium and phosphate to create a powerful defense system in your teeth to prevent cavities from forming: fluoroapatite. This makes your teeth stronger and more resistant to decay.

It is important for a child to visit the dentist around the age of one or as their first teeth begin to erupt, so that the pediatric dentist can guide the parent or caregiver regarding proper dental hygiene.  Your oral health care provider may give an oral description, show pictures of the correct ways to brush and show visual guidelines regarding the correct amount of toothpaste to use for a child at varying ages.

Healthy teeth are a major factor in overall health, whether you are a child or an adult.  Instilling proper oral care habits when a child is young encourages them to continue these good practices for life.  

Is your little one nervous about going to the dentist? No matter if dental anxiety is minor or severe, top-notch pediatric dentists utilize a variety of tools to ensure a peaceful dental experience for you and your little one.  Whether using laughing gas or sedation dentistry for tough cases or using the DentalVibe tool to eliminate the discomfort from dental injections, dentists have a variety of methods available to ensure that your child’s dental visits are as pain free and stress free as possible.  Look for a pediatric dentist that uses DentalVibe or suggest DentalVibe to your pediatric dentist today! 

To learn more about painless dental procedures, visit dentalvibe.com to find a Dental Vibe dentist near you.

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