A common question that parents ask is “is fluoride toothpaste bad for my child?” After a change in guidelines from the American Dental Association, the question is heard by dentists everywhere. The ADA used to recommend that parents wait until their kids turn two before using fluoride toothpaste, but in 2014 they revised the statement to say parents can use a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste when their child’s teeth begin to show.
Fluoride makes tooth structure stronger and helps to prevent the early signs of tooth decay. While many homes have fluoride in the drinking water, there are plenty of places in the U.S. that don’t require fluoride to be part of the water. In these areas, more families choose (or have to) drink bottled water, which usually doesn’t contain fluoride.
The 2014 ADA change matches a statement by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, which has suggested for many years that fluoride toothpaste is okay to use as soon as teeth begin to show. The ADA change also came after research showed an increase in cavities among preschool-age children; the revised statement hopes that using fluoride toothpaste earlier in life will prevent cavities in young kids.
It’s important also to note that reinforcing good brushing habits from an early age is especially important when using fluoride toothpaste. Fluorosis is a condition that results in a tooth’s enamel changing due to too much fluoride exposure. The condition has also been linked to ADHD and other neurological conditions when too much has been ingested, so making sure children spit out the toothpaste is crucial. Swallowing the toothpaste a few times is not a cause for concern, but if the habit is not corrected and lasts a long time, problems can arise.
So, Is Fluoride Good Or Bad?
The answer is that fluoride may be good for your child, but you must decide what is best for your son or daughter. You must find the right balance between your child getting enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay and using too much that puts him or her at risk of fluorosis. Take into account the amount of fluoride they already consume, mainly from your drinking water. Also take into account their diet, as a diet full of candy and sugary snacks often needs more fluoride to combat the effects sugar has on teeth. And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist! They are the ones who examine your child’s teeth and can make an informed decision on whether fluoride toothpaste is or is not necessary for your toddler.
Keep Your Smile Healthy with Affinity
Affinity Dental has six dentists and provides a variety of services from pediatric dentistry to orthodontics. Affinity Dental is capable of meeting all your needs. With 170 combined years of treating a variety of dental needs, Affinity is committed to providing quality dental care. To get your teeth back into good health and make your smile bright, call us at 410-719-7900 or contact us online. For other useful tips on dental care follow us on Facebook.