Is Fluoride Harmful to Toddlers' Health?

Last month, we discussed the benefits of fluoride for teeth and how it was important for all ages to use it.

But for years, however, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommended that children wait until they reach the age of two to begin using fluoride toothpaste. In February 2014, with the additional recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the use of fluoride toothpaste for children should start as soon as teeth begin to show.

The change had occurred after research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered an increase in cavities among preschool-age children. In several cases, children were required to be placed under general anesthesia to have cavities filled in half of their baby teeth or more.

The earlier usage of fluoride among this particular age group will help reduce the number of cavities. According to ADA recommendations, children need to spit out the toothpaste after it is applied to their teeth to avoid developing fluorosis, a condition that causes the tooth’s enamel to change color due to increased fluoride exposure.

Additionally, there are some cases in which ingestion of fluoride has been linked to ADHD and other neurological conditions. So while swallowing toothpaste every once in a while is not a huge issue, it could potentially result in more serious problems if it frequently occurs over time.

So What is Best for Your Child?

Before deciding whether or not to allow your children to start using fluoride toothpaste, you need to determine how much fluoride your child is already getting. If you do not know if you have it in your drinking water, conduct a water test or call your local water authority to find out.

If your children enjoy sugary snacks and drinks, an increased use of fluoride may be in order to combat the negative effects of sugar on their young teeth. If you are still not sure, you can always ask your dentist at your next checkup.

For more information, contact Austell Dental Associates today.


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