Every parent has his or her task cut out, teaching children the ropes of dental hygiene. But all your little ones may be taking your sage advice too far says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who has issued a warning about excessive toothpaste use among kids. The agency has surveyed nearly 1,700 children in the age group of three to six and found that 38 percent of kids use more than the recommended amount of toothpaste. Moms and dads, that’s no smiling matter, since too much toothpaste doesn’t equal better dental health. If your child has been using more than the required amount of toothpaste, they could develop dental fluorosis, says the CDC.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral, is added to dental products such as toothpaste since it helps fight tooth decay. It prevents cavities by breaking down plaque, killing or inhibiting bacteria’s ability to produce acid from carbs, and remineralising tooth enamel.
Using fluoride on the surface causes a significant decrease in cavities. But swallowing it can contribute to the development of dental fluorosis. So a small amount is essential for good dental health, but too much fluoride can cause damage to the enamel structure of children’s teeth – such as discolouration and pitting. Good Habits of People Who Have Great Teeth.
Side Effects of Too Much Toothpaste
It’s believed that for your toothpaste to work, you need to brush diligently for two whole minutes. Those in a hurry can’t bypass the rule by using extra toothpaste to make up for the shorter duration.
Too much toothpaste increase the chances of accidental swallowing in children, which can lead to dental fluorosis and other health complications. Brush Your Teeth Well To Lower BP! Study Links Bad Oral Hygiene To High Blood Pressure.
Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease caused by ingesting excessive amounts of fluoride through either food or toothpaste. In the journal Osteoporosis International, researchers presented the case of a 53-year-old woman who developed the problem due to excessive black tea and toothpaste consumption. Know Everything About Dental Care During Pregnancy.
Excessive fluoride can even cause damage to the thyroid gland, causing hyperparathyroidism.
Fluoride neurotoxicity is one of the side effects of using too much toothpaste, especially in children. The toxic effects of excessive fluoride affect nerve development in kids, according to findings of a study published in Environmental Health Perspective.
Fluoride exposure has also been connected to other health problems such as acne, diabetes, hypertension, early puberty in girls, immune system complications, iodine deficiency, low fertility, bone weakness, etc.
What Should Parents Do?
Fluoride is present in small amounts in foods like black tea, shellfish, wine, green tea, boiled rice, salami, yoghurt and bread. In small amounts, it helps maintain dental health. But ingesting it in large doses can have serious health consequences.
Children below the age of six months do not require toothpaste for dental hygiene. CDC says that children should start using a smear of fluoride toothpaste – the size of a rice grain – at two years. Till the age of six, when the swallowing reflex of the child has developed sufficiently to prevent ingestion, a pea-sized amount (0.25g) should be given.
Parents should encourage the children to spit out the toothpaste after brushing and rinse their mouths thoroughly.