When it comes to the dental health of your children, your primary concern is probably that they are not brushing often enough or well enough. As over 40% of kids already have dental cavities when they reach kindergarten, it may seem like you need to do everything you can to prevent them, including using a sizeable amount of fluoride toothpaste. After all, being a little too enthusiastic about your brushing habits can’t be a negative thing, right?

Toothpaste Overload

According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control, there is such a thing as using too much toothpaste. The CDC found that almost 40% of children between the ages of three and six use more toothpaste than they need to do the job. The agency warns that overdoing it on fluoride toothpaste can do lasting damage to developing teeth.

Fluoride toothpaste is meant to prevent tooth decay and cavities by strengthening enamel and killing bacteria. However, using too much fluoride at an early age can cause dental fluorosis, a condition that occurs when teeth undermineralize. You can spot this in kids by looking for faint white spots or streaking on teeth. In severe cases, dental fluorosis will take the form of dark brown discoloration, pitting, and occasional defects in the tooth enamel.

Proper Brushing Techniques

How much toothpaste should little ones use exactly? The American Dental Association recommends that children under three years old use a smear of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice for their tiny teeth. For kids aged three to six years old, stick to a pea-sized dot of toothpaste.

Besides toothpaste distribution, there are several other areas in which dental care can go awry. Read on to learn the best tips for ensuring your child’s dental health.

  • Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as their first baby tooth comes in.
  • Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be when they turn one year old.
  • Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush that is designed specifically for an infant’s or child’s teeth.
  • Teach your child how to brush their own teeth early on by breaking the process into small steps and guiding their hand when they first start out.

Want even more on teeth health and brushing habits?

Check out these three key habits to help your kids keep their teeth healthy. And don’t forget how to care for baby teeth. Starting early is the best way to ensure proper dental care and good health!