Q: If we have fluoride in our drinking water, do we also need to use a fluoride toothpaste?
Yes. The big difference here is that the fluoride in our water literally bathes the teeth with small amounts. Brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste twice a day is important to help develop strong, healthy teeth and combat tooth decay.
Q: When should I start brushing my child’s teeth. Do I use a fluoride toothpaste from the start?
It’s key to keep your baby’s mouth as clean as possible from infancy. Start with a soft cloth to wipe his or her gums clean.
Once those first teeth start popping through the gums, you can begin brushing with a super soft, child-sized toothbrush. This will help get him or her used to the activity from the start! Both the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the ADA recommend you start with the tiny smear of toothpaste once the first tooth appears and until the age of two or three.
At this age, you can use a little more (around a pea-sized dollop). Why? Because at this age, he/she is likely better at spitting and won’t swallow the toothpaste. I recommend you help your child brush until at least the age of 6 – this way you can be sure he/she are brushing for the proper amount of time, (about 2 minutes – long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice through or find a short story to read to your child as they brush).
Q:What happens if my child swallows fluoride toothpaste?
No need to worry if you are using the right toothpaste and the right amount for your child’s age and supervising their brushing. Children’s toothpastes typically have a lower fluoride concentration for the reasons given above. So, the best thing to do is to get the toothpaste appropriate to the age of your child and follow the directions given on the pack.
Fluoride toothpaste is recommended for babies and toddlers by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Dental Association. For more information, see Toothbrushing Tips for Young Children.
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