In the midst of National Children’s Dental Health Month the American Dental Association (ADA) has released a statement recommending that children start using fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first tooth comes in.
Previously, the ADA had recommended that children under the age of two years old brush only with water, moving onto a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste at the age of three, and then finally a larger amount once they reached the age of six. Now, the ADA suggests giving babies an amount of fluoride toothpaste comparable to a grain of rice, or a “smear.”
Dr. Edmond L. Truelove, chair of the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs said in a press release, “Approximately 25 percent of children have or had cavities before entering kindergarten, so it’s important to provide guidance to caregivers on the appropriate use of fluoride toothpaste to help prevent their children from developing cavities.”
A new review published in the Journal of the American Dental Association this month found that using fluoride toothpaste can significantly benefit preventing decay and cavities, which is why the ADA likely moved toward this recommendation.
It is important to remember that the amount of fluoride toothpaste given to an infant should be minuscule, as infants may have a difficult time spitting out the toothpaste, unlike older children. The ADA still recommends moving to a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste from ages 3-6.
This new recommendation may shed light on the importance of preventing decay as early as possible, especially as it comes right in the middle of National Children’s Dental Health Month. The ADA says that more than 16 million children in the U.S. have untreated tooth decay.
In light of National Children’s Dental Health Month and this new recommendation we would like to stress the importance of caring for your children’s teeth as early as possible. It is imperative to develop good dental health habits at an early age, as it may carry over into adulthood.
Not sure where to start with helping your child with dental care? That’s what we’re here for! We have compiled a few tips to get you started below:
Children’s Dental Care Tips
- Per the ADA’s new recommendation, begin brushing your child’s teeth with a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth comes in
- Schedule your child’s first dental appointment before his/her first birthday
- Once your child reaches three years old start visiting the dentist every six months
- At three years old, help your child brush twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Make sure they spit it out after!
- Lower the number of crackers, cookies and candy your child eats. It may comes as a surprise to many parents, but saltine crackers and goldfish may be just as bad for your children’s teeth as candy! The highly processed starch contained in them turns into sugars as soon as they are chewed. Not to mention they are extremely sticky and stick to the teeth, potentially causing more cavities!
So with this new recommendation in mind, and our tips for caring for your children’s teeth, there is no better time to start your children’s dental health routine than during National Children’s Dental Health Month!
Still not sure where to start? Schedule an appointment with the experts at Robbie Smith, DDS and we will help you lay out a plan for your child’s dental care. Schedule an appointment today, or call us with any questions!