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  • 12 June 2018

  • Family dentistry

Fluoride toothpaste for children: yes or no?

For many years, fluoride has had a positive impact on oral health by making teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride can also help remineralize a cavity in its early stages. Fluoride is naturally found in food and water, which means that we end up ingesting a certain amount of it each day.

Caring for your child’s oral health requires a number of different actions on your part, depending on their age.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends that parents of children under 3 years of age use only a toothbrush and water or a fluoride-free toothpaste to clean their teeth, and to use fluoride toothpaste only for little ones who are at risk of tooth decay. To determine a child’s risk level, be sure to consult an oral health professional. Once a child’s first teeth begin to appear, parents can use a soft toothbrush specifically designed for babies, along with a hint of fluoride-free toothpaste. Make sure to use just a small, paper-thin amount of toothpaste and to brush at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and at bedtime.

Since children under age 3 tend to swallow toothpaste, an adult must carefully control the amount of toothpaste used so as not to exceed the safe and optimal daily dosage of fluoride for children. No form of toothpaste—with or without fluoride—should ever be swallowed by either children or adults. That’s why it’s important to teach children to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallow it.

The amount of toothpaste used must be carefully respected and controlled by the parent. From one year of age, the amount of toothpaste must be no larger than the size of a grain of rice. For children aged 3 years and up, use only a pea-sized amount.

A child’s first check-up should be scheduled once they are able to follow instructions, usually between 2 and 4 years old.

At the first appointment, the dental hygienist will check and correct (if necessary) the brushing technique, and the dentist will examine the child’s teeth. Parents are also given advice on how to optimize their child’s dental care.

If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, do not hesitate to contact an oral health professional, who will be pleased to answer all your questions.

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