Is your child using the right amount of toothpaste?

Written by Dr Amrita Jain

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

November 13, 2019

Excess use of floridated toothpaste can lead at a problem known as FLUOROSIS!

Fluorosis is a dental condition that changes the appearance of tooth enamel in children. The teeth have bright white to brown patches or lines on the tooth as a result of being exposed to too much fluoride. A child develops fluorosis any time during the years when teeth are beginning to form.

A recent study warns that many young kids who use toothpaste more than needed are at an increased risk of dental fluorosis when they get older.

However, the study showed that when teeth are forming, excessive much fluoride can cause tooth streaking or spottiness or fluorosis.

Also, the study found that although experts recommend no more than a pea-sized amount, about 40% of children aged 3 to 6 used a brush that was full or half full of toothpaste.

For the study, the researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included parents of more than 5000 kids from 3 years old to 15 years.

In most of the cases, there is mild and no permanent damage to the teeth. However, the signs of severe fluorosis include:

  1. Brown spots on tooth enamel.
  2. Pitting of the enamel
  3. Permanent damage.

Sources of Fluoride


Fluoride is usually found in toothpaste
, mouthwash and public drinking water in many places. Water fluoridation is considered safe and effective practice by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.

Why does this happen?

Children of age 3 to 6, tend to swallow more fluoride than older children and adults. The concentration of fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwashes are usually high. Eventually, swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash adds to a child’s intake of fluoride and can fluorosis to develop.

How do you know if your child is suffering from dental fluorosis?Dental Fluorosis

Small white patches or lines begin to appear on the tooth and they eventually become brown over a period of time. White patches or lines caused due to fluorosis are usually very mild. As they start becoming brown it becomes severe. Hence it necessary to visit the dentist regularly and get the oral checkup done regularly.

Here’s how you can help your child prevent fluorosis

If the fluorosis is mild, then there is no need for treatment. But in severe cases, treatment like teeth whitening, veneers, or other cosmetic dentistry treatments are required.

There are a few preventive measures every parent must follow to reduce the risk of fluorosis for their child:

  1. Use only pea-sized toothpaste for your child.
  2. Use children’s toothpaste both morning and evening till the age of 5 years. After that, the child can start using a fluoridated toothpaste in the night and children’s toothpaste in the morning till the age of 10 years.
  3. Supervise your child while they brush preferably till the age of 5 years. Make sure they are spitting out and not swallowing the toothpaste or mouthwash that has fluoride in it.
  4. Keep toothpaste and mouthwash away from children.
  5. Find out more about the water fluoridation practice in the community.

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Author Bio: Dr. Amrita Jain is a practicing dental surgeon since 4 years. She completed her B.D.S in 2016 and was has been a rank holder throughout her course. She suggests “Holistic dentistry is the best dentistry”. Her treatment line follows a conservative pattern which means saving a tooth is of utmost priority and preventing your teeth from getting decayed rather than curing it with a root canal treatment. She inculcates the same while consulting her patients. Apart from her interest in clinical practice, she has developed interest in research and writing over a period of time. She states “It is my clinical experience that motivates me to write and spread dental awareness”. Her articles are well researched with a combination of technical knowledge and clinical experience.

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