I was recently at a Holiday cookout when of course the conversation turned to parents asking me questions about their children’s teeth. Although I am not a Pediatric Dental Specialist, I do see a lot of children and worked alongside the Pediatric Dental Residents during portions of my elective residencies at the Chandler Hospital at the University of Kentucky.
In this case, the questions were about Fluoride and its history and when their children should receive it as well as questions about toothpaste. I really don’t mind these questions of course when people start showing me their teeth it is a little less pleasurable cookout conversation.
In this situation, I was happy to give my opinion. Many parents leave their children to brush their own teeth a little too soon. A good rule is that if the child is able to tie their own shoes they are old enough to do most of the brushing themselves.
After this, the discussion turned to toothpaste. Specifically “When should my child start using adult toothpaste?” The answer to that as with the answer to many things is “It depends.” This isn’t an age question but more a behavioral question.” The main concern with adult toothpaste when it comes to a child is the amount of Fluoride that would go into the child’s system if the were to consume the toothpaste. So if a child is mature enough to expectorate all of the toothpaste (ie. spit out) then this is the age that the child could use adult paste. And this would, in my opinion, be a priority to be accomplished by the time the child had their first few adult teeth, which is for the majority of children around the age of six.