Fluoride and Toddlers: What to Expect



Even though most parents understand that using fluoride is crucial for keeping their children’s teeth healthy and cavity-free, there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to how much of this crucial mineral should be used when it comes to little ones’ daily oral hygiene routine. But, one thing is certain – even the tiniest of tots need fluoride because it helps to fight cavities not only from the outside, but from the inside out. When fluoride is ingested, either through a supplement or tap water, it becomes a part of the tooth’s structure. And, when it’s used in a toothpaste to clean the teeth, it builds up enamel, slowing down and even stopping the process of tooth decay and cavities.

Starting Early

The American Dental Association recommend using a fluoride toothpaste or your kids’ teeth as soon as they are cut.  However, it’s important to use no more than a rice grain sized smear of fluoride toothpaste until your child reaches the age of three. If you plan to give your toddler tap water, you can find out from your doctor or your local water supplier about the level of fluoride content in the water. In order to prevent cavities, there should be 0.7ppm to 1.2ppm fluoride in the water. If your water is not fluoridated enough, you may be able to get a fluoride supplement for your little one from your pediatrician or dentist. For more fluoride information, visit ilikemyteeth.org.

Check Your Child’s Toothpaste

Before you go out and purchase a toothpaste for your child when they cut their first pearly white, it’s important to check with your doctor or dentist about using it from the get-go. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you should get the go-ahead from your doctor before purchasing a toothpaste which has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, which will assure you that the toothpaste is safe for kids. You shouldn’t use any more than a small amount of toothpaste, and make sure that your tot can spit it out. For babies and toddlers under two, spitting out toothpaste can be difficult, in which case you may want to switch to a fluoride-free toothpaste until your little one turns two. Fluoride-based mouthwash isn’t recommended until your little one turns six.

Getting Too Much Fluoride

Most parents can worry too much about their little ones getting too much fluoride. However, between the water supply to your home – or supplements prescribed by the doctor – and their toothpaste, most little ones get the amount of fluoride that they need at a level which is safe for them. However, if your little one has a tendency to swallow their toothpaste when brushing their teeth, it is possible for them to get too much of a good thing. However, it’s good to know that although too much fluoride can cause white streaks on the teeth due to fluorosis, it’s not a disease and should have no effect on your child’s overall health.

Fluoride is important for your little one’s dental health, so it’s good to introduce them to it as early as possible.


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