When it comes to our little ones, providing them with the best care is our number one concern. There are many questions that come to mind in concern to their health and growth. One in particular would be, “At what age should my child start brushing his/her teeth?” Great dental care is a habit that should be taught at an early age. As soon as your child’s first baby tooth comes out, brushing should begin. As important as it is to implement a dental visit routine with your dentist, at home care is one of the biggest contributing factors to your child’s dental success.
Brushing at home with a toothpaste containing fluoride has been shown to reduce caries in children. Preventing caries and educating children at an early age is the key to promoting healthy teeth. But in any case with children, adult supervision is very important when children are using a fluoride based toothpaste. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, it is estimated the amount of fluoride that reduces caries to the greatest extent without causing adverse effects to be 0.05 mg/kg/day, or a range of 0.02 to 0.10 mg/kg/day for all children above the age of six months. When excess amounts of fluoride is consumed during the stage in which permanent teeth are developing fluorosis may occur. Fluorosis is mainly a cosmetic concern, it can range from a mild form, where white flecks appear on the tooth’s surface or to a severe form, where there are brown spots or pitting on the enamel.
Studies conducted in Brazil actually found that the main source of fluoride ingestion by children is through toothpaste consumption. In addition, studies have shown that the amount of toothpaste consumed is associated with the age of the child. The older the child is, the less likely the child will swallow the toothpaste. Younger children are found to consume more toothpaste than older children when the same amount of toothpaste is used.
According to the American Dental Association, children from the time their first tooth erupts to the age of 3 years old should just use a smear of toothpaste. Children above the age of 3 years old to the age of 6 years old can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. No matter the amount of toothpaste that is given to your child, adult supervision while a child is brushing their teeth is mandatory. Adults need to ensure children are spitting rather than swallowing the toothpaste. This teaches good oral habits for the future.
At home oral care is very important for a child. The habits they learn at a young age will determine their oral hygiene habits as an adult. If you have any questions or concerns, set up an appointment with us today to discuss the future of your child’s oral health.