Toothpaste 101

On almost a daily basis, I am asked by new parents, "when should my child start using toothpaste?" "How much toothpaste should I use?" "What type of toothpaste is best for my child?" and "Is it okay that my child cannot spit out the toothpaste?" All of these are great questions that are sometimes hard for new parents to get answers to if they don't have a pediatric dentist to speak with.  Well, you're in luck!

 This image illustrates the pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste a child should brush with twice a day.

This image illustrates the pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste a child should brush with twice a day.

The question of "when" each child should start using fluoride toothpaste is the most difficult to answer.  Every child should be seen for a wellness visit by a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday.  If your pediatric dentist feels your child is at risk for tooth decay, he/she may recommend fluoridated toothpaste; however, children between the ages of two and five should have a pea size amount of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. 

With regard to the type of toothpaste you should be using, I always tell parents the type of toothpaste does not generally matter as long as it has the correct amount of fluoride (0.15% fluoride ion) and is a flavor that their child will tolerate.  

Finally, as long as you are placing the correct amount of fluoride on your child's toothbrush, swallowing the toothpaste will have no lasting effects. Excessive amounts of fluoride (those amounts beyond what are recommended) can cause staining on the permanent teeth.  

I know as parents, you have many questions and I will try my best to answer them.  Feel free to drop me a line as we always love hearing from you!