Use of fluoride toothpaste in children expanded
Taking a departure from prior recommendations, which suggested using water and a toothbrush as the regimen on kids under the age of 2, the American Dental Association (ADA) now urges parents to start using fluoride toothpaste on kids as soon as they get their first tooth. The new recommendations say to apply a very small smear on a toothbrush (the size of a grain of rice) for children younger than 3, and a pea-sized amount for those ages 3 to 6 (as soon as a child is old enough to do so, they should spit out the toothpaste). With a quarter of children having had some cavity experience by the time they reach kindergarten, the organization says the new guidelines could help prevent cavities while limiting mild discoloration of the teeth, which can occur when children are exposed to too much fluoride. The ADA changed its recommendations based on a scientific review, which was published along with the new guidelines in The Journal of the American Dental Association and showed cavity-protection benefits for children under 6. Currently, the ADA recommends taking your child to the dentist when that first tooth emerges or no later than the first birthday.