February is most often associated with Valentine’s Day, but did you know that it is also National Children’s Dental Health Month? It’s a great time to bring awareness to children’s dental health, especially if they happen to gorge on all of that Valentine’s Day chocolate when the price gets slashed to 75% off after the holiday. Treats like that are great, in moderation of course, and taking care of their teeth after they’ve feasted their little hearts out is a top priority. But are the requirements for children’s teeth the same as adults? Let’s take a look.
A recent finding from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) actually found that the majority of children are using way too much toothpaste which, in turn, is damaging the enamel of their developing teeth. Children younger than 3 should only be using a smear of toothpaste that is equal to the size of a grain of rice, while children 3-6 years of age should use toothpaste equal to the size of a pea. The guidelines only go up to age 6, mainly because further beyond that children are less likely to swallow their toothpaste, although assistance from the parents may still be required.
However, the ‘pea sized amount’ can be applied to teens and adults as well. Most of us just load up the toothbrush though because that’s how toothpaste is marketed and advertised to us on a daily basis. This is one of those cases though where less is definitely more.
Oh, and don’t worry about spending the extra buck to get ‘child specific’ toothpaste. Adult toothpaste works just as well without paying the marketing premium for a picture of your child’s favorite cartoon character on the bottle. Unless your child is under 3 years of age and requires a toothpaste with 1,000ppmF, the adult kind with 1,450ppmF is totally safe to use.
For a refresher on brushing techniques that you can also use to aid your child, click here.