Is Fluoride Toothpaste Safe for Kids?

You may have seen some ads promoting fluoride-free toothpaste for babies and toddlers. You may wonder if it’s a marketing gimmick or whether the use of fluoride toothpaste is safe for kids. Don’t worry! There is no harm in using a fluoride toothpaste for kids. In fact, dentists recommend using one. The American Dental Association recommends that it be used for children.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral found naturally in water, soil, and air. It is added to toothpaste as it helps to prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Is Fluoride Toothpaste Safe for Kids?

Fluoride-containing toothpaste is absolutely safe for babies if given in correct dose. The American Dental Association recommends using a regular fluoride toothpaste for kids in a very small amount since tooth decay is very common among children these days.

Just like any other supplement of vitamins and minerals, if anything is given in high quantities it has its side effects.  An excessive amount of fluoride may lead to fluorosis. Mild fluorosis causes white spots on the teeth while more severe fluorosis causes pitting and dark brown discoloration on teeth. In some cases, an excessive amount may lead to an upset stomach. Once permanent teeth are formed, there is no longer a risk for fluorosis.

Therefore, be around your children when they brush their teeth.  Supervise your children while they are brushing and keep toothpaste out of their reach. It is common for toddlers to swallow their toothpaste. So, teach them to spit out properly and not gulp it.

What is the Correct Amount of Toothpaste for Kids?

Using the correct amount of toothpaste will protect your child from tooth decay and too much fluoride. For infants and toddlers under 3 years of age, use a baby toothbrush and toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Once your child has the ability to spit out excess toothpaste, move up to a pea-sized amount. Even for adults, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is sufficient.

fluoride toothpaste amount for kids

Are Kid’s Fluoride Toothpaste Same as Regular Toothpaste?

No, the kid’s fluoride toothpaste is not the same as an adult or regular toothpaste.

There is a difference in the amount of fluoride they contain. Children’s toothpaste has less fluoride. Children’s brands range from 500ppmF to 1,450ppmF whereas regular brands range from 1,000ppmF to 1,450ppmF.

Children’s toothpaste is often a gel-based formula as it is less harsh.

And last but not least, there is a difference in the range of flavors! Adult toothpaste has mostly mint flavor. However, children’s toothpaste comes in many flavors, such as strawberry, bubble gum, orange etc.

When can Kids Switch to Regular Toothpaste?

Kids can switch to an adult toothpaste around the age of 8 when his/her permanent teeth come or the transition can be made earlier if a child ‘spits’ out properly and doesn’t swallow large amounts of toothpaste.

Is Fluoride Toothpaste Safe for Kids?

The Bottom Line

Fluoride toothpaste is generally safe and recommended by dentists for both children and adults. But it is important to use it in the correct dose and correctly, especially for infants and toddlers.

If you’re still concerned about the safety of fluoride toothpaste and looking for fluoride-free toothpaste, there are plenty of fluoride-free options also available in the market. There are many brands that market themselves as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ toothpaste and contain no fluoride. You can even use them. Using such toothpaste certainly does not mean that there will be decay. Just make sure you pair it with a consistent brushing schedule and regular dental visits to stay away from cavities and tooth decay.

I hope you found this post on Fluoride toothpaste for kids useful.

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