CDC Study Finds Children Using Unhealthy Amounts of Toothpaste

Many children are overusing toothpaste on their brushes, according to a recent CDC study.

CDC Study Children Using Toothpaste

Health officials have warned many parents for squeezing unhealthy amount of toothpaste on their kids’ brushes. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that many children are overdoing with toothpaste.

The officials said nearly 40 percent of children between the age group of 3 and 6 used more toothpaste than recommended by professionals. Young children with emerging teeth, who swallow more than recommended fluoride toothpaste, are at the risk of developing dental fluorosis, which is characterized by discoloration of the teeth.

The CDC and American Dental Association recommend parents to squeeze not more a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their brushes.

According to the study, out of nearly 1,700 children in that age group, about 38 percent of them found to be using more than the advised amount of toothpaste, exceeding the daily recommendation of fluoride intake. The dental association says children are vulnerable to dental fluorosis even if they drink water with very high concentrations of fluoride.

As per the American Dental Association guidelines, children below 3 should be using even less toothpaste. Parents of children under 3 years should be squeezing only a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste, probably the size of a rice grain. Younger children are more vulnerable to dental fluorosis, as they do not spit out the toothpaste and more likely they will ingest it.

Dental fluorosis is more vulnerable in children because it occurs when the teeth are developing under the gums. The association says although dental fluorosis does not affect overall dental health, it can cause streaks or white lines on the teeth.

Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Augusta and an association spokesman, said, “The study results were a “red flag” that the public does not fully understand the guidelines for toothpaste application.” “One problem is that parents tend to receive contradictory advice on how much toothpaste children should be using, as well as whether the youngest children should be using fluoride toothpaste at all.” “Parents get mixed messages from dentists, pediatricians and the internet.”

The America Dental Association, in 2014, changed its guidelines and recommended parents to brush their kids’ teeth at least twice a day with a very tiny amount of toothpaste as soon as the teeth erupt. Also, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the same. The CDC, however, recommends parents to wait until their kids turn 2.

“Problems following brushing guidelines often arise from parents not being present alongside their children when they are brushing. What’s really happening is that parents are following the rules of brushing twice a day, but they might not always be there,” Dr. Alene Marie D’Alesio, chief of pediatric dentistry at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh said.

According to the CDC analysis based on data from 2013 to 2016, nearly 80 percent of children from ages 3 to 15 started brushing their teeth later than recommended.

According to guidelines, parents should start brushing their kids’ teeth when the first tooth erupts. However, just 20 percent of parents in the study reported that they started brushing their child’s teeth before age 1. Dr. Shenkin explained that parents should not stop using fluoride toothpaste. Instead, he recommended using it, but in the appropriate quantity so that children do not swallow too much of the toothpaste.