The American Dental Association Shifts Stance on Fluoride Toothpaste Use
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Dentistry, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry
MACOMB, MI - The American Dental Association (ADA) has recently released updated guidelines for caring for infant teeth. These updates have come from a comprehensive review of 17 new studies published in The Journal of the American Dental Association. Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan is glad to present this new information to the community and our patients.
According to the ADA, caretakers of infants should use a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste to lightly brush baby teeth as soon as they appear. The ADA suggests that an amount even smaller than the typical “pea sized” standard is used, often referring to the new size as a “smear.” A smear only lightly covers the upper-most bristles of the brush, and does not deposit in a clump or globule. Once children have aged to 3-6 years old, this amount may be increased to the standard pea-size.
This new recommendation is in direct response to an increase in the number of cases of cavities and general tooth decay in very young children. The ADA stresses that the use of Fluoride toothpaste is of critical importance in preventing premature dental problems including cavities or early tooth loss but warns that too much fluoride can have side-effects. These side-effects can include slight tooth discoloration, or white spots/streaks, caused by a condition called fluorosis. Fluorosis is caused by over-ingestion of fluoride toothpaste by young children. While this is only a cosmetic concern (the white spots are super-resistant to cavities), it is often undesirable in appearance. Dr. Elizabeth Ralstrom believes that “using a smear of fluoride toothpaste greatly reduces the risk of a young child ingesting any sizable amount of fluoride in the first place and provides so many benefits to our children. I use a smear of toothpaste every day when I brush my 1 year old son’s teeth.”
The ADA advises parents and caregivers to disregard yet-to-be-changed packaging messages on toothpaste that reads “consult a physician” before using with a child under 2 years old. These messages are meant to serve as a reminder to the public that the ADA and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends all children see a dentist by the age of 1 year old. “Every parent that brings a 1 year old child to our office is advised to use the smear of fluoride toothpaste. The scientific evidence of the benefits is overwhelming,” says Dr. Ralstrom.
The ADA is working with external organizations in order to form an agreement on sending consistent messaging regarding the use of fluoride toothpaste in young children. Their eventual goal is for all healthcare organizations to operate under a single set of guidelines.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Delaney, Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. The pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults, including being an Invisalign preferred provider. The ability to treat all special needs patients reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy. Valued hospital affiliations allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children's Hospital when needed.
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan
39400 Garfield Rd., Suite 200
Clinton Township, MI 48038
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