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Fluoride toothpaste for children

Fluoride is one of the hottest topics when it comes to children’s oral hygiene. Parents often ask when they should start using toothpaste on their children’s teeth, how much fluoride is needed, and if fluoride is safe for their kids.

Let’s take a bit of a deeper dive into the subject.

  1. What is fluoride?

    Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens the teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. Aside from fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes, you may get also fluoride from the food you eat, or the bottled water that you drink. In some countries, fluoride is added to public water supplies to help prevent cavities.

  2. Is fluoride safe for my child?

    Studies have shown that appropriate use of fluoride is safe and effective for prevention of tooth decay.

  3. How does fluoride work?

    Fluoride makes our enamel (the hard, outer surface of the teeth) stronger, helping it resist tooth decay. It also helps rebuild or remineralize weakened enamel and reverse early signs of tooth decay.

  4. How much toothpaste should my child use?

    Start brushing with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste as soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts. This minimizes the amount of fluoride that your baby swallows especially since he or she can’t spit yet. Between the age 3 to 6 years, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure your child spits after brushing. Brush for at least 2 minutes two times a day.

Smear of toothpaste
A smear of toothpaste (left) and pea-sized amount (right) Source: American Dental Association
  1. Should I be worried if my child swallows toothpaste with fluoride?

    If you’re supervising your child’s brushing and you’re using the recommended amount of fluoride toothpaste for your child, there’s no need to worry.

  2. I heard that too much fluoride can cause white spots on children’s teeth. Is it dangerous?

    Excessive intake of fluoride may cause fluorosis which is the appearance of white streaks or spots on your baby’s teeth.

    Yes. Excessive intake of fluoride may cause fluorosis which is the appearance of white streaks or spots on your baby’s teeth. It happens while the teeth are still forming under the gums, until about age eight. The American Dental Association says that fluorosis is mostly a cosmetic issue with no negative health effects. However, it is always best to consult with a pediatric dentist if you have any concerns about your child’s oral health.

    SEE ALSO: What are the white spots on my baby’s teeth?

  3. When can my child brush on his own?

    Practice makes perfect and it’s important that we teach our children how to brush at an early age. Early stage brushing is a team effort between you as a parent and your little one. Allow your child to brush on his or her own and make sure you do the final brushing to get rid of all the “sugar bugs”.

    Parents are encouraged to supervise their children’s brushing until about the age 7 or 8.

    Parents are encouraged to supervise their children’s brushing until about the age 7 or 8 to ensure that they’re doing it right. This is around the same time that they have developed the dexterity to tie their own shoelaces or write in cursive.

  4. Can my child get a fluoride treatment at the dentist?

    Every child has his or her own individual fluoride needs. When necessary, your child’s pediatric dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment to help prevent cavities. During this treatment, your child’s dentist will apply a thin layer of fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth. This topical application of fluoride is quick and painless.

Got questions on your child’s oral health? Ask us below. If you wish to bring your child to a specialist dentist for children, give our Umm Al Sheif clinic a call at 04 395 5095. We’ll be delighted to take care of your little one’s smile!

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