Do you have young children? Do you know when to begin training them to brush their teeth? How soon do you start them brushing with fluoride toothpaste? What do you know about dental fluorosis? I have been doing some reading about how early to start kids on the brushing with toothpaste routine and, specifically, about when to start them on fluoride toothpaste.
New American Dental Association Recommendations
As some of you may remember, when you were raising your now adult children, that the ADA recommendation for a child’s teeth brushing routine was that kids under the age of two years should have their teeth brushed with water and then using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. But it seems now they are recommending fluoride toothpaste much earlier in life…recommending this as soon as the child get’s the first tooth!
Why The Change?
So, do you think this change in recommendation came about because the ADA wants to make your life more difficult? Absolutely not! They have found that approximately twenty-five percent of children are enrolling in kindergarten having or having had cavities prior to entering. The ADA also reports that more than 16 million kids in the United States have untreated tooth decay. This causes millions of hours of work and school loss for the treatment by both parents and the students. They also report that pre-school aged children often report to dentists with multiple cavities, sometimes as many as 15.
They changed the recommendations in an attempt to help parents and caregivers have better information on how to avoid preschool cavities.
The American Dental Association reviewed some statistics that revealed that brushing with fluoride toothpaste significantly prevented decay and cavities in children. They also found some evidence that ingesting pea-sized amounts of fluoride toothpaste caused a condition called “dental fluorosis”. This is a condition which only develops in children under the age of 8 years and it develops as a result of too much fluoride ingestion. When this condition occurs, it causes staining and changes in the color of the enamel of the tooth.
What Are the New Guidelines?
The new dental guidelines say that children under the age of 3 years should get just a “smear” of toothpaste. Then, over the age of 3 years, they can graduate to a pea-sized amount. Children should be encouraged to spit the toothpaste out of their mouths as soon as they are old enough to do so. It is felt that these new guidelines will prevent cavities and help to avoid the fluorosis problem.
The message here is clear: start your children brushing their teeth as early as possible and utilize fluoride toothpaste sparingly as directed by the new ADA guidelines. Also start their routine dental visits as early as possible to avoid cavities and gum disease. Your Long Island Periodontist can help to identify and treat cavities, gum disease and periodontal diseases in any member of your family. Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or pay him a visit on the web at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.