When to use toothpaste for your Children
Many parents ask Beverly Hills Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Vafa, how early they can start using toothpaste on their children. Good oral health care is vital for children’s overall health. As soon as you notice your child’s teeth start to break through, you should start to clean them but toothpaste is not needed yet. If your child is younger than 18 months, then the best method for cleaning your child’s teeth is to wipe them with a wet cloth. Along with drinking water and breastfeeding, cleaning your child’s teeth is the best way to ensure good oral hygiene and health. When your child has most of his or her baby teeth, then you can use a small toothbrush to gently clean them. However, toothpaste is still not needed at this age.
Once your child reaches 18 months, then you may start to use toothpaste to clean his or her teeth. However, it is important to choose a toothpaste that is safe for children. There are a variety of children’s toothpastes available that are made to safely clean your child’s teeth.
When parents start to incorporate toothpaste into their children’s oral hygiene regimen, there are certain things parents should look for when purchasing toothpaste. It is important for parents to make sure the toothpaste is safe to swallow, because it is likely that children will swallow toothpaste when it is introduced into their routine. Another important factor is the amount of toothpaste that is used on children’s teeth. Only a small amount, such as a pea-size, is needed on the toothbrush. If parents apply too much toothpaste to their children’s toothbrush, then they could swallow too much of it, which could discourage children from wanting to use toothpaste.
Although fluoride is a vital factor in producing strong and healthy teeth in children, too much can be harmful. It was suggested that parents choose a toothpaste that has a low amount of fluoride or no fluoride, but new research has shown fluoride can be beneficial in toothpaste for young children. According to the American Dental Association, parents should not wait until a child is around 2 to start using toothpaste with fluoride. This was prompted from the American Dental Association because the rising concern of an estimated 25% of children who will most likely develop cavities before they start kindergarten. However, it is important to use toothpaste with low-fluoride, which will prevent cavities and the risk for fluorosis. Fluorosis is the discoloration of teeth what comes from being exposed to high amounts of fluoride in young children.
Parents can also encourage children to use toothpaste by choosing flavors that children will enjoy. It may take a few attempts at trying different flavors, but the variety of options available will meet any children’s taste. It is important that parents teach their children good oral hygiene practices at an early age, which will increase the chances of children practicing good oral habits through adulthood.