A recent warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 40% of children between 3 and 6 years old are using potentially dangerous amounts of toothpaste.
How much toothpaste is too much? The CDC and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that children between 3 and 6 years old should not use any more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush. Children younger than 3 shouldn’t use any more toothpaste than a grain of rice on their toothbrush.
And it’s critical to keep in mind, that the toothpaste on their toothbrush should ONLY be used to brush their teeth, and should NOT be swallowed by children or adults.
The reason it shouldn’t be swallowed is because of the fluoride in it. Which is why in 1997 the U.S. FDA—made it mandatory for all fluoride-containing dental products to carry this warning:
“If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”
You may have to look closely at your toothpaste to find it, but it should be there since the FDA requires it.
Why the concern re: fluoride toothpaste?
Apparently due to research that has shown fluoride is an endocrine disrupter that can affect a person’s bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland, and blood sugar.
Also, it’s a known neurotoxin which has been shown in some studies to lower IQ in children. And beyond all that, it can also damage teeth enamel if children swallow too much fluoride while their teeth are developing. That damage is called dental fluorosis — white marks and discoloration of teeth.
How common is dental fluorosis? According to research presented at the April 2017 National Oral Health Conference held in Albuquerque, NM, 57% of children between 6 & 19 years old have dental fluorosis. When water fluoridation was first done in the U.S. in 1947 it was promised only 10% of people would develop mild dental fluorosis at then-recommended levels.
In 2011 the increasing rates of dental fluorosis prompted the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services to lower the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water from the previous level of 0.7 mg/L to 1.2 mg/L, down to 0.7 mg/L.
Those who oppose fluoridated water believe, however, that adverse effects of fluoridated water even at the reduced levels, go beyond dental fluorosis to include reduced IQ levels, behavioral changes, neurochemical changes, hypothyroidism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). So the opponents say even though the lower levels reduce the exposure to many people, the most serious risks remain.
This is clearly a very brief summary of the issues involved in fluoride toothpaste and water, but at least we hope it increases the awareness of just how little toothpaste young children should be using, and the importance that nobody swallows it -- not children or adults.