Concerns have been raised as to whether the use of fluoride toothpaste is safe for kids and infants. The American Dental Association does recommend its use for kids. However, children can be more prone to complications associated with excess fluoride intake than adults. This is because their developing teeth are more vulnerable to the damage caused by excess fluoride. So, it is important that any kind of fluoride-based products, like fluoride toothpaste, is used in the safest ways recommended for children.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in the earth’s crust. It is found naturally in our water, soil, and air. It is used in toothpaste and water supplies because it has the following benefits:
- Prevents tooth decay and cavities.
- Fortifies weak tooth enamel and reduces the loss of minerals from it.
- Helps in repairing tooth damage caused by acid.
- Reduces oral bacteria/plaque.
Fluoride toothpaste has a greater amount of fluoride than fluoridated water and therefore, should not be swallowed. But why does a high amount of fluoride cause harm? Just like any other vitamin or mineralsupplement, anything is high quantities can cause more harm than good.
Is It Safe for Babies and Toddlers to Use Fluoride Toothpaste?
There have been debates about whether fluoride is safe for babies. Yes, it is. However, it has been recommended that you use a fluoride toothpaste that has a seal of acceptance from relevant medical authorities in your country.
Fluoride is also often recommended for kids as supplements. However, fluoride for toddlers is usually not recommended unless they live in areas where there is a lack of fluoride in drinking water, including bottled water.
So, what measures should be taken for infants using a toothpaste with fluoride? For babies and toddlers, the amount should be just about the size of a grain of rice.
Excess fluoride is not good before 8 years of age. This is when human teeth develop. Excess fluoride at this time can lead to a condition called enamel fluorosis. This condition is marked by discoloured and patchy teeth. These symptoms are not very noticeable at times and usually, the condition is mild. You should take your child to a dentist if you notice these symptoms.