A lot of parents want to know whether fluoride is safe for toddlers. For years, the American Dental Association recommended that parents wait until two years to start using fluoridated toothpaste with their children. In February 2014, however, the organization changed that recommendation and said parents are at liberty to begin using “smear” of the toothpaste as soon as a few teeth begin to show. What does this change of guideline after decades of standard policy mean for your child? Following this change of policy, the question of whether fluoridated toothpaste is safe for toddlers continues to circulate among both parents and dentists.
Basic Information About Fluoridated Water/Toothpaste
The substance prevents and also reverses the early signs of tooth decay. It also makes the tooth structure stronger, which makes it more resistant to acid attacks. However, some evidence contained in a Harvard study shows that ingesting it could inflict harm on the cognitive outcomes of toddlers. This suggests that the substance is strong enough to affect the brain functions. If a toddler takes too much fluoride, a condition known as fluorosis takes place and makes its way into the body, and this eventually results in the occurrence of pitted and stained teeth. This affects up to 41 percent of children and adolescents.
Other potential consequences of high intake of the chemical include higher incidences of Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD. The ADA’s decades-old recommendation to start using a pea-size of toothpaste after two years was based on these fluoride side effects.
The chemical is naturally available in many sources. When we drink water, we often take it in. Families that want to avoid it choose bottled water, which contain no elements of the chemical like tap water do. Other main sources of the toxicity include the following:
- Waste product of industry
- Oral hygienic products- fluoride treatments, toothpaste, mouthwash
- Non-organic foods
- Other food sources- commercial drinks like soda, soft drinks, grape juices, beer and wine, cereal grains, packaged and processed foods, mechanically deboned meats and chicken.
The ADA now advises parents to use a small smear of the paste to brush their toddler’s teeth twice daily as soon as they begin to erupt. This change of mind came after a systematic review of 17 studies in the Journal of the American Dental Association. The review revealed that the toothpaste is effective in controlling tooth decay. When the right amount is used by any child, regardless of age, and they do not swallow the toothpaste, its medical effect on the teeth will most likely outweigh not using it at all.
What’s Best for Your Child?
Assess your family’s intake of the substance. Several factors will ultimately determine its risk to your family. A major one is whether your drinking water contains high or low quantities of the substance. Find this out from your water supplier. From the information, consider how much your toddler and other members of your family enjoy eating sugary stuff and taking soft drinks. Bring all these pieces of information together and use them to decide whether you and your toddler should go ahead and use fluoridated toothpaste or not.
Your main aim is to protect your family from overusing it. Several studies have no doubt proved that fluoridated toothpaste is an effective way to prevent and reverse tooth decay and also strengthen the teeth. This shows that all your family members need to use it. However, you must take care to avoid the fluoride side effects.
If you are a resident of Alpharetta, GA, and its surrounding areas including Cumming, GA, Forsyth County, GA, and Atlanta, GA, a great way you can be sure your toddler’s teeth remain healthy through all his or her stages of development is starting arranging visits to Midway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry as early as possible. We are located in Alpharetta. Your dentist will help you to know whether the teeth require treatment. This way, you will also be able to know how your child’s teeth are developing and ensure that no one in your family suffers from the painful effects of tooth decay. When your toddler is approaching the age for his or her first dental visit, give us a call to arrange an appointment with one of our professional dentists.