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Toothpaste for a child – should it contain fluoride?

25 August 2017

The parents want their children to take complex care of their mouth cavity. This includes purchasing the correct toothbrush and toothpaste along with regular dentist appointments. When it comes to toothpaste, there’s no obvious choice. The shelves at stores are full of colorful, flavoured toothpastes aimed at children. We shouldn’t forget though that these toothpastes differ from one another in terms of ingredients. The basic ingredient contained within them is fluoride, which already has quite a collection of myths surrounding it. Should children’s toothpaste contain this element?

Fluoride – the natural ingredient, the effects of which have been scientifically proven

Fluoride is a naturally occuring chemical element, which can be found in foods such as fish, cheddar cheese, tea or water. It’s effects are multidirectional. The basic functions of fluoride are:

  • merging with the tooth’s structure, making it more resistant to bacteria’s attacks which might lead to cavities,
  • reducing the microorganisms’ abilities to metabolize sugars, leading to producing less acids,
  • making remineralization of the enamel easier.

The effects of fluoride described above have been scientifically proven by over a hundred researches, including the non-profit Cochrane Collaboration. That’s why the toothpastes which contain fluoride are recommended by the World Dental Federation (FDI). According to many researches (such as the ones conducted by the members of Committee to Coordinate Environmental Health and Related Programs along with the National Cancer Institute), the fluoride doesn’t cause bone Cancer and it also doesn’t increase the chances of any other Cancer type to form. Using it doesn’t reduce our IQ level either. There are no scientific evidence that fluoride has a negative effect on reproduction.

The right dose

In order for the fluoride to effectively protect our teeth from cavities, we need to give it to ourselves in the right amounts. The products containing a tleast 1000 ppm of fluoride are most effective, and therefore recommended for children.

Fluoride can be overdosed though – this might lead to the devlopment of the disease known as fluorosis. It occurs when a child will consume too much fluoride at once (for exmaple, when a three year old swallows about 75ml of fluoride toothpaste containing 1000 ppm of this element). We can also start suffering from this disease after taking the fluorine compounds over prolonged period of time, when our permanent teeth are still forming. This problem applies to children who are supplementing fluoride by drinking fluoridated water.

This is also the reason why the amount of fluoride contained in the toothpaste shouldn’t exceed the recommended amounts (for example, the children younger than 6 years should use the toothpaste containing 1000 ppm, while the childen at the age of 6 and older can use the 1450 ppm). Aside of age, there are other things worth paying attention to while purchasing a fluoride toothpaste:

  • the risk of cavities,
  • taking in this element from the other sources already,
  • artificial tooth fluorisation.

In order to prevent fluorosis, always store the toothpaste in place the child can’t reach. Introduce this kind of toothpaste to them once they’ll learn to spit out the toothpaste after washing their mouths out. You should also control the amount of tootphaste applied on the toothbrush. The medicine containing fluoride (like pills or drops) should only be taken after the doctor recommends them himself.

A fluoride used correctly is safe for the children

The toothpastes containing fluoride, used under a watchful eye of parents and carefully chosen based on the child’s needs, are completely safe. As long as we won’t forget to prevent the child from overdosing, there’s nothing to worry about. The tooth brushing should still be monitored until the chld is 6 – 7 years old.

When used correctly, the floride has a positive effect on the health of our teeth and can even stop the further forming of cavities when they are still in their early development stages. That’s why it’s included in most of the toothpastes, being recommended by the World Health Organization and World Dental Federation, and shouldn’t be avoided. The fluoride-free toothpastes are also worth checking out though.