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Pushing toothpaste onto a toothbrush is a mindless action that many of us don’t pay attention to. For adults, it’s usually okay not to be mindful of how much toothpaste you’re using. But, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the story is much different for children.
Earlier this month, the CDC issued a serious warning to parents of young children asking them to pay extra close attention to kids’ toothpaste usage.
What’s Considered Too Much Toothpaste?
The CDC says that 40% of children between the ages of 3-6 are using more toothpaste than recommended by dentists.
So how much should kids use?
Both the CDC and the American Dental Association recommend children that age only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and kids under three should only use “a smear,” no bigger than a grain of rice.
Too Much Toothpaste Can Affect Teeth
While the amount of toothpaste your kids use might not seem like a big deal, it can actually have negative effects on their health. Using too much toothpaste can damage enamel, for example. If kids swallow too much fluoride as their teeth are developing, they can develop dental fluorosis, essentially causing white marks and discoloration on their teeth.
The CDC doesn’t recommend children start using toothpaste until the age of two. Before then, it is recommended to brush teeth twice daily as soon as they start to grow in, but using only water.
Around 80% of the children included in the survey began brushing later than the CDC recommends.