Hello everyone! How was your Raya? Eventful and given out or received a lot of duit raya, (the latter) I hope? Speaking of Raya, something inevitable during the festive season is seeing your relatives! Even more inevitable, especially if you are a dentist, is the free dental consultation you give out when asked by relatives, which leads me to the topic that we will be discussing today. My cousin, who has the most adorable 7 month old baby asked me if she should be using a fluoridated toothpaste as she fears that it would be toxic when swallowed. She was at the same time concerned that her daughter’s teeth will end up rotting, as she saw first hand with her niece, if a non-fluoridated toothpaste was to be regimen. To ease her concern, I had to provide her with an acceptable solution, backed by good evidence. So, to good old reliable American Association Paediatric Dentistry (AAPD) I referred to, and here are my findings. As the topic is quite broad, I will be posting this in 2 parts.
When should we start brushing our child’s teeth?
According to the AAPD, oral hygiene measures should be implemented no later than the time of eruption of the first primary tooth. Tooth-brushing should be performed for children by a parent twice daily, using a soft toothbrush of age-appropriate size and the correct amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
Should we use a fluoridated toothpaste for our baby/toddler?
The AAPD encourages the brushing of teeth with the appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste.
What is the correct amount of toothpaste?
Well, no more than a smear or rice-sized amount for children less than three years of age; no more than a pea-sized amount for children aged three to six) twice daily for all children
The risk vs benefits?
The use of fluoride for the prevention and control of tooth decay is documented to be both safe and effective. When determining the risk-benefit of fluoride, the key issue is mild fluorosis versus preventing devastating dental disease. Careful monitoring of fluoride is indicated in the use of fluoride containing products, which generally applies to everything else our toddlers are doing.
Tune in next week for part 2, where we will be discussing about the products available in the market, a dash of the milk tooth anatomy and how to clean well!