Too Much Toothpaste

By: Sahar El-Hodiri
By: Sahar El-Hodiri

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You want your young kids to get in the healthy habit of brushing their teeth.

But too much of a good thing can harm their pearly whites.

If they're under age six, you need to make sure they don't get too much fluoride. Your kids could end up with fluorosis; damage to their permanent teeth. Swallowing toothpaste is a big reason.

When two and a half year old Jadyn St. Brain brushes his teeth, sometimes all the fun flavors take over.

Jadyn's mom, Shannon St. Vrain says, "Whenever he does it by himself he really doesn't brush too much he pretty much just eats the toothpaste so I bought some cleanser toothpaste that doesn't have the fluoride in it so he could eat it."

Too much fluoride can disrupt the way your kids' teeth develop until they're about five-years-old. It'll show up when they get their permanent teeth.

Wichita dentist Dr. TedMason says, "Brownish spots reflect through your teeth is what it looks like."

In general, dental fluorosis is a cosmetic change, but it can be more severe. Dr. Mason says, "The enamel won't be as strong and it will be pitted and it could allow for some decay to get started."

To prevent fluorosis, use a small, pea-sized amount of toothpaste when your kids are under age six. And start encouraging them early to spit out the toothpaste.

Jadyn's getting the hang of it.

Shannon says, "I do try to get him to spit it out, he's starting to now more to where he'll brush it then he'll spit before he swallows it, so gradually we're getting there."

Older children and adults are not at risk for fluorosis. The American Dental Association stresses you closely monitor your kids' brushing habits.


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