Often times, when it comes to toothpaste Americans traditionally use way too much when brushing their teeth. Perhaps it is the endless toothpaste media ads or commercials that show a perfectly applied swirl of paste gently placed atop of a shiny new toothbrush. Adults and children alike tend to air on the side of excess in regards to toothpaste when in truth, less is more! A small pea-sized dollop is all that anyone needs. If you’re a spreader not a dabber, try applying a very thin layer of paste rather than a thick long line. The main job of toothpaste is to act as a lubricant to remove plaque and a little bit goes a long way.
Children are the worst when it comes to using excessive amounts of toothpaste, especially when they like the taste of their toothpaste. Many toothpaste brands targeted for children have yummy flavors that entice children to glob it on! Parents should monitor the amount of toothpaste their children use. It is difficult for children to spit out large amounts of toothpaste causing excess toothpaste to be swallowed. When this happens, children can swallow or ingest too much fluoride, leading to a condition called fluorosis. If you notice your teeth or your children’s teeth becoming chalky white or yellow and brittle they may be getting too much fluoride in their diet. Monitoring children’s toothpaste use is the best way to avoid fluorosis, and knowing how much fluoride is in your local tap or well water. Tooth discoloration from fluorosis is permanent. There are no other known problems associated with fluorosis.
Fluoride can be found in other products like mouth wash/rinses, drinking water and fluoride supplements. An experienced dentist will monitor and check for fluoride problems during your dental checkups. Too much fluoride is usually not a problem and in many cases children are not receiving enough fluoride. If lack of fluoride is a problem your dentist may recommend a topical fluoride treatment once or twice a year.