Paediatric dental care is an important part of your child's development. But with all the online sources parents have at their disposal, it's important they find information that is as accurate as it is convenient.
In February 2014, the American Dental Association (ADA) revised its position on the use of fluoride toothpaste for children under two years of age. Use the following points to help you make a decision about when to start your child on a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Children are subject to tooth decay the moment their teeth come in, so you should be consistent about brushing their teeth. Fluoride is an additive in many toothpastes that are perfect for strengthening the enamel that baby teeth depend on to properly develop.
Using Age-Based Portions
Here in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) recommendation says that children under three years of age should brush using a "smear" of fluoride-containing toothpaste no larger than the size of a grain of rice, twice a day. After the age of three, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is recommended, once in the morning and once at night. Previously, the recommendation was for children of two years of age and older to brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Supervision and the Seal of Acceptance
As a parent, supervising and guiding your child while they're brushing shouldn't be necessary past a certain age, but it is not unusual for children to have supervised brushing up to the age of 12. This will ensure that they remain personally responsible throughout their childhood and as they grow up.
Whether or not you're monitoring your children's brushing habits, make sure they're using products that are right for them.
Make sure your child has a right-sized toothbrush when they start brushing. There is a wide assortment of sizes and shapes for toothbrushes, so brushing teeth can be a fun and effective path to great oral health. Oral rinses can be useful for all age groups as well; check with your dentist or dental hygienist to make the right choice and ensure your child enjoys a cavity-free childhood.
Making the right paediatric dental choices comes down to having the right information. Armed with the recommendations from MOH, you can feel comfortable knowing you're giving your child the best of oral care.
About the author: Dr. Huot is the founder and CEO of Beachside Dental Consultants Inc. He has lectured at many meetings, and his past articles have been featured in Dental Products Report, Dental Economics, Dental Practice Report, ADA News and state dental journals. Dr. Huot retired in 2012 from the USAF Reserve Dental Corps after 30 years of military duty, and his last assignment was as the Commander of the 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Patrick AFB, Florida. A past president of the Maine Dental Association in 1994 and the 2006 president of the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association in Florida, Dr. Huot is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.