In an effort to ward off the risk of troublesome cavities in children, the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA) recently announced updated guidance regarding the use of fluoride toothpaste with babies.
Previously, the CSA recommended children under the age of two have their baby teeth brushed with only water. The initial plan was to eventually advance the child to a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste at the age of two.
When a recent report indicated an estimated 25 percent of children were succumbing to cavities by the time they reached kindergarten, the ADA opted to expand its fluoride guidance to include infants. It is now recommended caregivers begin the fluoride toothpaste regimen as soon as the baby’s first tooth begins to emerge. The ADA suggests parents limit the amount of toothpaste to a tiny bit, about the size of a grain of rice. Once the child turns three years old, the caregiver can increase the amount to the pea-size. Keep in mind, it is recommended caregivers always supervise when children use fluoride toothpaste and attempt to limit the amount of toothpaste swallowed. A child should be carefully observed until he/she can brush, rinse and spit without assistance. This is usually around the age of seven.
Even though those baby teeth will eventually fall out, regular exposure to fluoride helps build a healthy mouth. Fluoride is an essential ingredient in preventing tooth decay as it makes the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It is also said to reverse premature decay. Experts agree, early prevention is vital as using fluoride at a young age helps the development of healthy permanent teeth. Fluoride also helps promote remineralization, making the teeth acid-resistant and strong.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, dental decay affects more than 16 million children in the United States, making it the most common chronic childhood disease. Millions of school hours are missed each year by children as well as work hours as families attempt to treat oral disease. The ADA recommends children begin regular dental check-ups beginning as early as one year old, or within six months of the first baby tooth coming in, whichever comes first. Studies indicate the earlier a child is introduced to the dentist, the less likely the child will need to be treated for cavities or emergency care.
Consistent oral care through the use of regular brushing and the use of fluoride toothpaste is key to a healthy smile — for life.
Please contact Cambridge Family Dentistry for a free consultation if you have any questions or concerns regarding the latest fluoride guidelines or want to discuss childhood oral care.
Please contact us by calling:
(316) 687-2110 or toll-free (877) 687-2110.
We look forward to meeting you.
The Cambridge Family Dentistry clinic is located at 2020 N. Webb Road in Wichita, Kansas