Do you feel anxiety over arranging dental appointments, or perhaps you haven’t felt able to visit your family dentist for years?
Twice daily tooth brushing is essential for good oral health as it helps to remove plaque and food debris from the teeth and gums. Most adults are not too worried about the toothpaste they use, but it can be a different story for children.
Many children are fussy about the taste of toothpaste, and you might need to buy then a different flavor to the rest of the family. This might be a small price to pay if they will use their toothpaste regularly, but how do you know which brand to buy?
Some toothpaste may be the right flavor, but they may not be the best choice for dental health. Certain types of toothpastes are designed to whiten teeth and can contain harsh abrasives that could damage your child’s tooth enamel. Young children definitely do not need whitening toothpastes and should not be using them, especially as their tooth enamel is not as hard as adults.
When choosing your child’s toothpaste read the packaging, as it should be one that is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Toothpastes recommended by the ADA will have been rigorously tested to ensure they are safe to use and that they cannot harm teeth. Certain toothpastes are also recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and will provide some protection against bacteria in the mouth.
Very young children are not capable of spitting out excess toothpaste and may end up swallowing it. This can be a problem if the toothpaste contains fluoride as this could cause a condition called fluorosis.
Fluorosis causes white or brownish flecks to develop in the teeth and in extreme cases can cause black stains or small pits on the tooth surfaces. In addition fluoride could be toxic if swallowed in very large quantities. It is best to ask your pediatric dentist about the use of fluoride toothpaste, as they may recommend fluoride free toothpaste until the age of two when a child learns to spit out the excess. You only need to use a tiny amount of paste to clean their teeth.
When brushing children’s teeth, it is best to use a child sized brush that has very soft bristles that will not damage their teeth and gums.
The head of the brush should be small enough to comfortably reach right to the back of their mouth so all their teeth can be thoroughly cleaned.
If you are ever unsure about which toothpaste to use, or brushing techniques, you’ll find your pediatric dentist is more than willing to offer advice.
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