Too many young children use too much toothpaste, which increases the risk of teeth streaked or jagged as they age, according to a survey released Thursday in the US.
About 40 percent of children aged 3 to 6 used a brush that was full or half filled with toothpaste, although experts recommend only more than pea size, a study found.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Prevention were based on a survey of parents of over 5,000 children aged 3 to 15.
Health officials recommend that all people drink fluoridated water and that each 2 and older brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
But this amount is important. Children under 3 years of age should only use rice-sized toothpaste. Children 3 to 6 should stick to pea size.
"Fluoride is a great benefit, but it needs to be used with care," said Dr. Mary Hayes, a dentist's pediatrician in Chicago.
Young children can promote independence while cleaning teeth, but the toothpaste for children tastes sweet.
"You do not want them to eat like food," Hayes said. "We want the parent to be responsible for the toothbrush and the toothpaste."
Fluoride is a mineral found in water and soil. More than 70 years ago, scientists found that people whose drinking water had a more natural fluoride had less cavities. This has led to efforts to add fluoride to tap water, toothpaste, mouthwash and other products. Experts say fluoride helps reduce decay rates in adolescents and adults in the US.
Too much fluoride in tooth formation can lead to tooth swelling or dirt – known as dental fluorosis. In extreme cases, the teeth can be distributed with minerals, although many cases are so mild that only dentists will notice.
Earlier studies suggest that fluorosis has increased for at least three decades and may affect up to 2 out of 5 adolescents.
A new study did not keep babies over time or attempted to determine how many striped or dirty teeth developed due to the use of too much toothpaste.
The authors recognized further restrictions. Parents may not have seen how many children used the toothpaste when they were younger. The survey also did not specifically ask what types of toothpaste were used; not all kinds of baby toothpastes have fluoride in them.
The study found that about 60% of children will clean their teeth twice a day. It also found that about 20 percent of white and black children and 30 percent of Hispanic children did not start brushing until they were 3 years old.
The Associated Press Department for Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Department of Natural Sciences. AP is solely responsible for all content.
Mike Stobbe, Associated Press
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