Fort Worth, Texas,
15:05 PM

CDC Says Many Kids Are Using Too Much Toothpaste

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 40 percent of kids ages 3 to 6 use too much toothpaste.

The CDC states that fluoride found in toothpaste prevents dental tooth decay (caries or cavities), but too much can create discolor and white lines or streaking (dental fluorosis) of the teeth.

Sheela Patel, D.D.S, and Shawne Barron, D.D.S, pediatric dentists for Cook Children’s, give the following advice to parents on how to take care of young children’s teeth:

  1. Before teeth appear in your baby’s mouth, wipe down the gums with a warm, damp washcloth after feedings.
  2. When the first tooth appears, begin to use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste, placing a smear that is the size of a grain of rice on the toothbrush that you are using.
  3. After age 3, then begin using a “pea-sized” amount of fluoride toothpaste, and yes, it is always prudent for mom or dad or caregiver to dispense the toothpaste to ensure that the correct amounts are dispensed.
  4. We recommend a toothbrush with a small head, soft bristles, and to replace toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or when any sickness has occurred.

Their suggestions are in line with the guidelines from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study from the CDC looked at the brushing habits of more than 5,100 children and adolescents aged 3 to 15 from 2013 to 2016.

The survey found:

  • Nearly 80 percent of children began toothbrushing after the age of 1.
  • Approximately one third brushed once daily
  • Nearly 40 percent of children aged 3-6 years used too much toothpaste.

“Good dental health is critical for everyone, regardless of age,” Dr. Patel said. “It's important to remember that the health of you and your children’s teeth and gums can have a direct impact on their overall health. While poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease, cavities and tooth loss.”

Meet Our Dentists

Sheela Patel, D.D.S

I have always loved being around children of all ages. I was drawn to pediatric care while I was volunteering for the Give Kids A Smile program offered through the University of Nebraska Medical Center Dental School. We provided free dental screenings, treatment and education to underserved children in rural areas of Nebraska. Not only did I enjoy treating children, I was able to take part in educational activities to increase their awareness of oral health and discuss the importance of taking care of their teeth at a young age. I also was fortunate to have the experience to provide dental services to children in need on a mission trip to Honduras during my residency training. I am a big proponent of preventative dentistry and committed to improving the health of children by educating families on the importance of oral health care. I love showing children that dentistry could be fun and also provide a positive experience and trust that they can take with them forever.

I enjoy spending time with my husband, Jay and my son, Niam. I also enjoy being outdoors, reading, music and traveling. My husband is also in the medical field and is a practicing surgeon in the greater Fort Worth area.

Education and biography information.

Shawne Barron, D.D.S., M.S.

I am grateful beyond words to be surrounded inspiration daily ... from the kids that come into the clinic with their amazing families, to the brilliant ladies I get to work with at Cook Children's Renaissance, to my three sons who inspire me to step outside the box and have adventures and depend on God daily, to my sweet daughter-in-law who shows me what it looks like to walk in faith, to my twin daughters who are always exciting and resilient, not the least bit boring, and to my amazing husband who is my best cheerleader, coach, mentor, and friend. He shows me daily the courageous example of generosity.

Education and biography information.

Cook Children's Dental Services

Cook Children's can serve as a child's dental home for patients between the ages of 0 to 16 years old. Cook Children's board certified pediatric dentists help to simplify dental care to improve overall health for kids.

We accept Medicaid and CHIP patients and can treat children with medical conditions.

Click here to learn more.

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