Should Toddlers Use Fluoride? What You Need To Know

If you’re the proud parent of a toddler who’s starting to get their first couple of teeth, you may be wondering if it’s safe for them to use fluoride-containing products like fluoride toothpaste. Should you be using fluoride when brushing their teeth? Find out everything you need to know in this blog from the office of Dr. Patrick Stuckey.

Yes! Kids Of All Ages Can Use Fluoride To Protect & Strengthen Their Teeth

Fluoride is completely safe for kids of all ages, especially when it’s used in small amounts, such as in most types of toothpaste on the market. When you’re brushing your child’s teeth, you should reach for a toothpaste that contains fluoride. 

The main benefit of fluoride is that it helps attract minerals to the enamel, which can help reverse the “demineralization” process caused by oral bacteria as they consume food and excrete acid. This protects the teeth from developing cavities, and that’s why fluoride is so important for both adults and kids.

And, despite what some people may have you believe, fluoride is not harmful to your health. There are no verified, solid scientific studies proving that it causes harm, and there are hundreds of studies that show how safe and effective it is for kids and adults. So trust the science. Fluoride is totally safe for you, and for kids of all ages.

Stick With A Small Amount Of Fluoride Toothpaste Until Your Child Can Spit It Out

One reason you may think it’s not safe to use fluoride in toddlers is that, until about 2014, the ADA (American Dental Association) and dentists recommended that you use non-fluoride toothpaste in kids who are too young to spit on command. 

So, for example, if your child is under the age of 3, the old recommendation would have been to use a fluoride-free toothpaste. This is because the sodium fluoride used in toothpaste is toxic when ingested. However, it’s not very toxic at all.

For an adult to be seriously harmed by sodium fluoride, they would have to eat about 5-10 grams of pure sodium fluoride, which is about 8 full-sized tubes of toothpaste. While this amount would be less for a child or toddler, that’s still an extreme case.

Because it’s so unlikely that a child would eat enough toothpaste to come to harm, dentists have decided the anti-cavity benefits of fluoride toothpaste outweigh this very low risk, even for very young kids who can’t spit out the toothpaste properly. 

So, the current recommendation from the ADA and dentists is that kids who can’t spit on their own should have their teeth brushed with a small, grain-of-rice-sized dab of toothpaste. Even if your child swallows this amount of toothpaste, it won’t harm them at all.

Then, once your child knows how to spit on command and won’t swallow their toothpaste, usually at about the age of 3, you can switch to a larger blob of toothpaste about the size of a pea. 

Need A Checkup Or More Information About Pediatric Dental Care? Come See Dr. Stuckey!

If your child needs their first checkup or you want more information about how to care for your toddler’s teeth properly, Dr. Patrick Stuckey is here to help with early childhood dentistry services. As a family dentist in Ruston, Dr. Stuckey treats patients of all ages with care. Contact us online or give us a call at (318) 255-8648 to schedule an appointment right away!

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