Posted tagged ‘caries’

Start using fluoride-containing toothpaste as soon as baby teeth come in

February 27, 2014

The Pediatric Insider

© 2014 Roy Benaroch, MD

A new guideline from the American Dental Association suggests that parents start using fluoride toothpaste early to best protect teeth. (The guideline itself is behind a paywall, but you can read a summary here.)

The old advice was to wait until age two to use fluoride. The concern had been that babies can’t spit well (ironic—they seem to spit up just fine when they want to), and that early fluoride could lead to fluorosis, or a staining of teeth. But it turns out that the vast majority of children with fluorosis have minimal cosmetic changes that are only noticeable by a dental professional, and that mild fluorosis actually strengthens teeth. An appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste, when used very young, will lead to fewer cavities and better dental health.

How much is the right amount? The ADA is suggesting just a smear, or a bit of toothpaste about the size of a single grain of rice. That’s not a lot. Even for older kids, past three, a pea-sized amount is plenty. (That’s what’s recommended for adults, too. The big blobby stripe of toothpaste shown in commercials is there just to trick you into using too much.)

Once teeth come in, brush them twice a day with a rice-sized bit of fluoride-containing toothpaste twice a day. Now, if we could also get them to floss….

When Gummys attack

November 10, 2008

Darcy asked: “I was once told(by a pediatrician) gummy type vitamins were bad for a child’s teeth and I should use the Flintstones type vitamins as a better alternative. What is in gummy vitamins that are making them so horrible for a child’s teeth? Honestly, if it the same type of “bad” for my daughter’s teeth as a regular gummy bear I would much rather give her these. She hates the Flintstones type vitamin. Thanks!”

I’ve got here a bottle of Gummy Vites, and the first two listed ingredients are “glucose syrup (corn), sucrose”. Either of these are essentially sugars, which aren’t great to have on your teeth. But they aren’t very big; each 2-gummy dose contains about the equivalent of one teaspoon of table sugar. You could give these before toothbrushing at bedtime, or have your child wash ‘em down with water. In the big picture, I doubt this amount of sugar would make much difference. I can’t imagine what would make a Gummy Vite worse than a regular gummy bear.

The first ingredient of Flintstones is sorbitol, a poorly-digested sugar that doesn’t contribute to tooth decay. What it can contribute to is loose stools and gas—sorbitol is a laxative. But, again, the amount in Flintstones is pretty small, and I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

If your daughter prefers the Gummys, go ahead and use them. They’re perfectly good vitamins, and fighting to get her to chew on Fred or Barney every morning doesn’t sound like it’s worth the yabba dabba doo time.