Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen
Fluoride toothpastes and young kids — you gotta be careful
In the 2000 cheerleading movie “Bring It On!” a most memorable scene involved a tooth-brushing (or should we say tooth-blushing) face-off between Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) and Cliff (Jesse Bradford). Never have so many back-and-forth, up-and-down flicks of the toothbrush been used as an analogy for young flirtation.
Tooth-brushing, it turns out, is not as simple as you might think! It’s tough to judge the right amount of toothpaste. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s especially true for kids age 3 to 6 who use fluoride toothpaste. It seems many of the youngsters put overlarge globs of it on their brush, delivering excess fluoride that can harm and discolor teeth (dental fluorosis).
The CDC surveyed almost 1,700 children and found that 38 percent of them used more than the recommended amount. That’s a pea-size dollop of toothpaste for kids 3 to 6. Kids younger than age 3 should use only as much as the size of a grain of rice! And the CDC says no fluoride toothpaste for kids 2 or younger unless directed by your dentist.
The best advice:
■ For kids up to age 2: Wipe gums with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed.
■ As teeth come in: Start brushing twice a day with a soft, small-bristled toothbrush and plain water.
■ Supervise your kids up to age 6 while they apply the toothpaste to their brush and during brushing. Kids often swallow the toothpaste, and that can cause fluoride overdosing.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.