Tooth brushing is one of the most important tasks for good oral health. Many kinds of toothpaste, and/or tooth polishes, however, can damage young smiles. They contain harsh abrasives, which can wear away young tooth enamel. When looking for a toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one that is recommended by the American Dental Association as shown on the box and tube. These toothpastes have undergone testing to ensure they are safe to use. At age 3, start using a fluoride. Fluoride protects teeth from acid damage and helps reverse early signs of decay. Too much fluoride before 8 years of age, a time when teeth are developing, can cause enamel fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the permanent teeth.

How much toothpaste should your child use?

Use only a smear of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) to brush the teeth of a child less than 3 years of age. For children 3 to 6 years old, use a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively on their own.

If you have any questions about your child’s dental health or routine, please call pediatric dentists Drs. James and Samuel Owens office at 918.455.7700.