ADA: Use fluoride toothpaste when 1st tooth appears

The ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs has updated its guidance for caregivers on the use of fluoride toothpaste for children.

Now, the organization is stating that children's teeth should be brushed with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth comes in. This new guidance expands the use of fluoride toothpaste for young children.

The new guidance is intended to provide children with the full benefit of cavity protection while limiting their risk of developing fluorosis. Based on a systematic review of the evidence, CSA concluded that using just a "smear" of toothpaste for children younger than 3 years old and a pea-size amount for children 3 to 6 years helps prevent cavities and is less likely to cause fluorosis. Children should spit out toothpaste as soon as they are old enough to do so.

CSA previously recommended using water to brush the teeth of children younger than 2 years old and brushing the teeth of children 2 to 6 years old with a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. CSA updated the ADA's guidance based on a review of scientific evidence.

The report, "Fluoride toothpaste use for young children," and the results of the systematic review, "Fluoride toothpaste efficacy and safety in children younger than 6 years," are published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association (February 2014, Vol. 145:2, pp. 182-189, 190-191).

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