Pediatric dental care is a crucial yet oft-overlooked aspect of child development. While countless online sources on dentistry are available to parents, it's important that they find information that is both accurate and convenient.
In February 2014, the American Dental Association (ADA) updated its position on fluoride toothpaste for children under age 2. Because of this change, much of the information online about toothpaste is outdated. This page will help you make an informed decision about what kind of toothpaste your child should use.
What is Fluoride and what does it do?
As long as they have teeth, children are at risk of tooth decay. Therefore, you must act proactively in preventing it. Many toothpastes contain fluoride, an additive meant to strengthen the enamel that baby teeth need for development. It's important to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride since tap water and bottled water don't always contain it.
Age-Based Fluoride Portions
The ADA's new recommendation states that children younger than 3 should brush twice a day with a smear of toothpaste containing fluoride that is no bigger than a grain of rice. After age 3, the ADA recommends that children brush with a portion of toothpaste the size of a pea, once in the morning and again at night. Before the change in 2014, children age 2 and older could brush with a pea-sized portion of fluoride-containing toothpaste.
If you're a parent, it's expected that you supervise and aid your child when they brush and check to make sure they're not neglecting any of their teeth. It is normal to continue doing this with your child until they're 12 years of age. This helps ensure they stay personally accountable for their dental health as they enter adolescence and adulthood.
Getting your kids to brush and floss every day is often difficult, but keep at it. Your oversight today will determine your child's oral health when they're older.
ADA-Approved Oral Products
Even if you're no longer monitoring your child's brushing habits, you should ensure they use the right kind of oral products. Look for products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Products with this seal are approved by the ADA, effective, safe, and in line with their scientific claims.
Make sure your child has the right size of toothbrush when they brush their teeth. Your local drugstore or pharmacy should have toothbrushes in a wide assortment of shapes and sizes, making brushing a fun way for your child to practice good oral hygiene. Oral rinses and mouthwashes are of use to patients of all ages as well. But regardless of which ADA-approved product you opt for, the important thing is that your kids get into the habit of brushing and flossing regularly.
If you're having trouble making decisions on oral products, ask or for help. It's important to make sure you have the right information if you want to make the right pediatric dental choices. By making sense of the ADA's recommendations, you can take confidence knowing you're providing your child with the oral care they need.
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