When to Start Using Toothpaste

hi I'm dr. Douglas Keck participating

delta dental dentists and national

spokesperson for the American Academy of

pediatric dentistry as a pediatric

dentist I often get questions from

parents about oral health care for young

children for example when should they

start brushing their teeth and how much

toothpaste should they use as soon as

your baby gets his or her first two you

can start brushing any small size soft

bristle toothbrush will do although many

manufacturers make age-appropriate

models initially I tell the parents to

brush their babies Keith with just water

the action of brushing alone will remove

the plaque if I think that the child

might be at a higher risk of tooth decay

for any variety of reasons I will

recommend that they place a small smear

of fluoride toothpaste on the brush

because babies and toddlers don't yet

know how to spit they will end up

swallowing most of the toothpaste and

only a small amount is effective in

helping to prevent tooth decay some

infant variety toothpastes do not

contain fluoride these infant formulas

are all right if they are swallowed but

other than their cleaning action they do

not help prevent tooth decay if you

haven't yet started using fluoride

toothpaste at age to start using a smear

of fluoride toothpaste you don't need a

lot of toothpaste to be effective at

brushing just a small dab on the

toothbrush about the size of a pea will

do the job for three and four year olds

rush as usual for two minutes twice a

day you have your child's spit at the

end fluoride in toothpaste is helpful in

repairing tooth surfaces that are

damaged by bacteria in the mouth it's an

ingredient that has been helpful in

fighting tooth decay as with other

vitamins and minerals it's important to

get enough but not too much

when young children whose teeth are

still developing get too much fluoride

their adult teeth may erupt with faint

white lines or patches called dental

fluorosis your dentist can answer your

questions about fluoride and fluoridated

toothpaste he or she can also give the

child and parent brushing tips to help

them brush for the recommended two

minutes you may want to use a 2 minute

hourglass or play a favorite two minutes

off making sure your child brushes his

or her teeth twice a day with fluoride

toothpaste is a crucial part of

establishing and maintaining good oral

health starting this habit as early as

possible and help to ensure your child

continues in the right direction and

that's something to smile about