A CDC report has highlighted that children may be using too much toothpaste, which can be dangerous for their oral health. The rule that children between the ages of 3 and 6 should use a pea-sized amount or less is not being followed. The study focused on children between the ages of 3 and 15 between the years 2013 and 2016, and the results showed that almost 40% of children are using more than the recommended amount. So what is the problem, and why is it important for your children to use the right amount?
How Much Toothpaste Do You Really Need?
Depending on the age of the child, the answer differs. Children between 3 and 6 should use a pea-sized amount, but children under the age of 3 should only use a brief smear, specifically, the size of a grain of rice.
But there are some children using half a toothbrush or even a full toothbrush of toothpaste. This can be a problem because it can lead to excessive fluoride intake if the toothpaste is swallowed. If a child swallows enough toothpaste, it can be harmful to their health. Occasionally swallowing a pea-sized amount should not harm them but may upset their stomach.
What are the Root Causes for Overuse of Toothpaste?
Because brushing teeth is considered to be an essential way to maintain oral health, the culprits can differ. Firstly, television commercials highlight the fact that people always put a giant “wave” of toothpaste on their toothbrush. And by putting too much toothpaste on their toothbrush, this is naturally communicating that everybody needs to put more on, rather than less, to reap the benefits. As parents are trying to do right by their children and may have overriding concerns about their children’s oral health, they may very well put more toothpaste on.
The fact of the matter is that your teeth get just as clean using a smaller amount of toothpaste, and you are also being less wasteful. This can make the tube of toothpaste last longer and the cost of caring for your teeth decrease in the long run.
What Parents Can Do to Prevent Decay
While fluoride is essential, parents need to ensure that they are setting a good example for their children. For children under the age of 3, non-fluoride toothpaste is the best approach. Children can start to use fluoridated toothpaste once they are able to spit and not swallow the toothpaste.
Adults can make a conscious decision to limit how much fluoride they have on their toothbrush (a pea-sized amount) and set a good example for children. Parents also need to observe and supervise their children brushing their teeth so they can monitor toothpaste use and make sure they use good brushing technique.
It’s a very delicate balance because if your children aren’t using enough toothpaste, they’re not getting the benefits, but if they are using too much, it is wasteful. Fluoride is an essential ingredient in toothpaste, and the important thing that we all need to know is how much to use. If your children are using too much toothpaste, ensure that it’s a grain of rice for children under 3, but for 3 and over, stick to the pea-sized amount.