US children use more toothpaste than recommended

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According to a recent study, young children who use toothpaste more than required are at an increased risk of "dental fluorosis" when they grow older.

Fluoride is a mineral found in water and soil. Additionally, it's unknown whether or not the toothpaste reported was fluoride or non-fluoride.

"Children aged three years should use a smear the size of a rice grain, and children aged three years should use no more than a pea-sized amount (0.25 grams) until age six years, by which time the swallowing reflex has developed sufficiently to prevent inadvertent ingestion", researchers, led by oral health specialist Gina Thornton-Evans from the National Centre for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion, explain in the new CDC report.

"You don't want them eating it like food".

You can't have too much of a good thing and in the case of your children's toothpaste use, this is especially true. "We want the parents to be in charge of the toothpaste and toothbrush".

The findings suggest that children and adolescents are engaging in appropriate daily preventive dental health practices; however, implementation of recommendations is not optimal. More than 70 years ago, scientists discovered that people whose drinking water naturally had more fluoride also had fewer cavities.

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This information is important because while the recommended age for children to begin brushing is 3 years old, some households start brushing babies' teeth as early as six months or when the first tooth comes out. That led to efforts to add fluoride to tap water, toothpaste, mouthwash and other products.

Brushing with too much toothpaste can damage enamel, as children could swallow too much fluoride while their teeth are developing, the CDC says.

The CDC also found that about one-third of kids only brushed their teeth once a day instead of the recommended twice daily.

In 2014, the dental association changed its guidelines and recommended that parents brush their children's teeth twice a day with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste as soon as they erupt. This can cause dental fluorosis, white marks and discoloration of teeth.

The data used for the analysis was based on parents' self-reporting.

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