Fluoride is a mineral found in water and soil.
"Fluoride is a wonderful benefit but it needs to be used carefully", Dr Mary Hayes, a pediatric dentist in Chicago, told The Associated Press. As per the agency's recommendations, kids below 3 should only use a rice grain-size, while for 3 and above, pea-sized.
"You don't want them eating it like food", Dr Hayes added.
Young kids may push for independence in brushing their teeth, but kids' toothpaste tastes sweet, according to the team.
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Amongst all the children aged three to six years old, about half (49.2 percent) used the correct, pea-sized amount. More than 70 years ago, scientists discovered that people whose drinking water naturally had more fluoride also had fewer cavities.
Nevertheless, the study revealed that when teeth are in the forming stage, excess fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis or tooth streaking or spottiness. Stanford Children's Health's website noted that regardless of the brand, as long as the toothpaste contains fluoride, it should be enough to support regular dental health practices.
The CDC wants parents to take charge of the amount of toothpaste their child has on their toothbrush, as "supervision is emphasized as a critical role for the parent or caregiver as the child first begins using a toothbrush and toothpaste". Additionally, participants were not asked to specify whether the toothpaste had fluoride.
The survey also found that over a third, 34.2 percent, of the children age 3 to 15 years old only brushed their teeth once a day, not the recommended twice a day. The CDC's survey of almost 1,700 children in that age range found that about 38 percent of them used more than the recommended amount of toothpaste, which has the potential to exceed the daily recommendation of fluoride intake.
One problem, Shenkin said, is that parents tend to receive contradictory advice on how much toothpaste children should be using, as well as whether the youngest children should be using fluoride toothpaste at all.