New Toothpaste Guidelines for Children

To help prevent the number of cavities in children, the American Dental Association, or ADA, has developed a new guideline for fluoride use. It is now recommended that a smear of fluoride toothpaste be used as soon as the first primary teeth erupt. This advice overturns the recommendation to start using a pea-sized amount at the age of 2.

The ADA has done several studies to determine how effective fluoride is with children of all ages. An early start is crucial in controlling tooth decay. Children with decay are at more risk for developing decay as adults. The new ADA guidelines stress that children should spit out toothpaste as soon as they are able. Not being able to spit out the excess rice-grain amount will not cause fluorosis, a mild discoloration of teeth. The goal is to minimize the amount of fluoride ingestion and also to have a preventative tool for children younger than 2 years.

Parents need to monitor the amount of toothpaste and assist in brushing for children at least to the age of 6, but any additional help is always a great idea. They should not shy away from fluoride just because the label on the toothpaste may say to consult with a dentist before using if under 2 years of age. Cavity prevention is the main goal, so taking your child to the dentist at the first sight of their first tooth is encouraged.

Dr. Julie Pruneski is the dentist and owner of Whispering Pines Dental located at 690 Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain Ohio. Dr. Pruneski is a current member of the American Dental Association, Ohio Dental Association, Lorain County Dental Society, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and American Academy of Facial Esthetics. To reserve an appointment with Dr. Pruneski, call 440-282-2023. Check us out online at and on Facebook at

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