ADA Changes Long-time Stance on Fluoride Toothpaste for Young Children

For half a century, the American Dental Association has advised parents not to give fluoride to children under 2 years old. But times have changeWith an alarming number of children having cavities before they enter kindergarten, the ADA needed to find a way to decrease this chronic disease. The ADA determined that a smear of fluoride toothpaste was necessary – and not harmful – for kids under 2 years old, based on a review of 17 scientific studies.

The ADA’s updated guidelines are published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Brushing without fluoride toothpaste can lead to severe cavities in baby teeth. These cavities are treated by anesthetizing your child so the dentist can clean the tooth decay.

Parents are encouraged to follow ADA guidelines of brushing a rice grain size amount of fluoride toothpaste over your child’s teeth to prevent this experience from occurring, according to a recent USA Today article . Another critical point for parents is that they need to constantly oversee and teach their children how to spit out all excess toothpaste. It is believed that kids cannot properly brush their teeth by themselves until they have the dexterity to tie their shoes.

Many parents are concerned with the possibility of fluorosis, which happens when too much fluoride is ingested and it causes white, chalky streaks on the teeth. The ADA concluded that using a smear the size of a grain of rice would do enough help to protect against cavities, while being small enough to reduce the risk of your child ingesting too much fluoride, after an analysis of scientific research.

Cavities are the most common chronic disease in children, with approximately 25 percent of children having cavities before they are 5 years old. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has recommended the use of a small smear of fluoride toothpaste on children under the age of 2 for years now, and the ADA has finally agreed.

Pediatric dentists encourage parents to bring their children in for their first appointment as soon as the first tooth appears, but certainly no later than after the child’s first birthday.

Once children have reached 3 to 6 years old, you should increase the toothpaste amount to the standard pea-size.

 If you should have any questions or concerns about your child’s dental hygiene, please call the
San Francisco dentistry office of Dr. Robert Walley to set up an appointment.