All the details you should know about fluoride toothpaste and its use for children. Know the hazards of too much fluoride, specially in children.
The toothpastes containing fluoride make the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay. The fluoride toothpaste works effectively to fight plaque and cavities. They also clean and polish tooth enamel.
Fluoride toothpastes are being used to control dental decay for the last 5 decades. Fluoride ion present in the toothpaste prevents decay in two ways:
(1) It prevents the bacteria in plaque to generate tooth-weakening acids.
(2) It helps re-mineralize the teeth where tooth-weakening acid has already started.
More than 95% of all toothpastes (Homemade Toothpaste Recipes) contain fluoride in the form of Sodium Fluoride, Stannous Fluoride, Sodium Monofluorophosphate or Amine Fluoride. A tube of fluoride toothpaste contains fluoride levels of about 1,000 to 1,500 parts per million.
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It has been shown that toothpastes which contain more fluoride are more effective against dental decay. It has also been noted that excessive fluoride can give rise to enamel fluorosis of the front permanent incisors. People with fluorosis have white spots on their teeth due to discoloration of the enamel. These spots can stain or become dark. It should be noted that fluorosis can be avoided by the proper use of fluoride, but it is not a health problem.
Warning for Children using Fluoride Toothpaste
Children can swallow some of the toothpaste when brushing. If too much fluoride is ingested during the development of the adult teeth, then the enamel may be discolored. Fluorosis usually happens during a child's first few years when the teeth are forming. Ingestion of excess fluoride during the first seven years of the child can permanently disco lour the incisor teeth. Most cases ar, however, mild. You should teach your child to avoid swallowing toothpaste and spit out it.
A study of children in India (reported in Science daily, (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981202074926.htm) found that children who had used a fluoride toothpaste (8.2 percent) before age 6 had twice the rate of fluorosis as compared to children not exposed to fluoride at that age.
- Under seven years of age: Parents should supervise the child when brushing. A child should not be allowed to suck toothpaste from the tube. Use toothpastes especially formulated for children.
- Under 2 years age: Do not use any toothpaste when brushing the teeth of children under two years of age.
- 2 years age: Use only a pea-sized (5mm) amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Over seven years of age: Can use toothpastes used for adults without any supervision.
The Hazards of Fluoride
There is no doubt that the use of fluoride decreases dental caries. But it is also a fact that the ingestion of too much fluoride can result in fluorosis. You should know the associated hazards of fluoride. Fluoride is an acute toxin. You should monitor your child if he is using a fluoride toothpaste, because, you do not know how much of the toothpaste your child is swallowing. Half a tube of fluoride toothpaste can kill a child.