Posts Tagged ‘ toothbrush ’

New Dental Recommendation: Fluoride Toothpaste Before Age 2

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

The American Dental Association is now recommending that children begin using a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste twice daily as soon as their first teeth appear.  This is a change from the previous guidelines, which had suggested brushing with water until age 2, when a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste could be used.  More on the new recommendation from The New York Times:

To fight the rising number of cavities in the very young, the dental group now advises getting a jump-start on prevention. However, they emphasize only the tiniest amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used to minimize the risk of mild discoloration, white spots or streaking of the teeth, a condition called fluorosis that is caused by ingesting fluoride toothpaste at a young age.

“We want to minimize the amount of fluoride consumption to reduce the risk of fluorosis while simultaneously adding a preventive tool for kids 2 and under that we haven’t recommended previously,” said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a spokesman for the A.D.A. and a pediatric dentist in Augusta, Me. Only a tiny amount of toothpaste should be smeared on the brush since some youngsters are likely to ingest some of the fluoride, he said.

The change comes after a systematic review of 17 studies published in The Journal of the American Dental Association this month. It concluded that scientific evidence, though limited in children under age 6 and more robust in older children, demonstrated that fluoride toothpaste is effective in controlling tooth decay, and that “the appropriate amount” should be used “by all children regardless of age.”

An early start is crucial, Dr. Shenkin said, because children with dental decay are at greater risk of developing cavities as adults. “By starting earlier, we can effectively reduce a lifetime of disease for a lot of kids.”

Dr. Man Wai Ng, the dentist in chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, applauded the new recommendation and said, “It’s a great thing for parents to know: ‘Use a tiny amount of fluoride, and brush two times a day to counter the effects of frequent snacking.’”

Most of the children she sees with tooth decay are using “a training toothpaste without fluoride,” she said.

The new A.D.A. guidelines stress that children should spit out toothpaste as soon as they are able, but not being able to spit does not preclude the use of a rice-grain-size bit of fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride is controversial in some circles, amid allegations–based, medical officials say, on questionable science–that fluoride is a carcinogen and can lower children’s IQs.  In 2012, New Jersey was embroiled in the controversy when it considered legislation that would require each town in the state to fluoridate its water.

What kind of behaviors can you expect from your growing toddler? Take our quiz to find out!

Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1
Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1
Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1

Image: Child’s toothbrush, via Shutterstock

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FDA: Electric Toothbrush May Cause Chipped Teeth and Choking

Friday, February 17th, 2012

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety warning about Spinbrushes from Arm & Hammer and Crest (which sold them before 2009), including those designed for kids.

The FDA says parts have broken off while consumers were brushing their teeth, causing chipped teeth, cuts to the mouth and gums, swallowing and choking on broken pieces, and face and eye injuries.

The warning applies to these models of Spinbrush:

  • Spinbrush ProClean
  • Spinbrush ProClean Recharge
  • Spinbrush Pro Whitening
  • Spinbrush SONIC
  • Spinbrush SONIC Recharge
  • Spinbrush Swirl
  • Spinbrush Classic Clean
  • Spinbrush For Kids
  • Spinbrush Replacement Heads

The child model features characters like Thomas & Friends on the handle. The brush head on this version is not removable, as it is on adult models, but “[n]onetheless, problems with the Spinbrush for Kids have … been reported, such as cut lips, burns from the batteries, and bristles falling off and lodging in a child’s tonsils,” the FDA explains.

Last year the FDA inspected the company that makes the Spinbrush, Church & Dwight Co. Inc., and “uncovered evidence that there had been numerous
consumer complaints that had not been reported to the agency.” The FDA issued a warning to the company, which has since included color-changing bristles so users remember to change the brush head, altered labeling to warn consumers to change the brush every three months, and incorporated warnings in its advertising.

To reduce the risk of injury to Spinbrush users, the FDA recommends:

  • Supervising children or adults who need help when they use a Spinbrush.
  • Inspecting the Spinbrush before each use for damage, including loose or broken bristles. If you see any, don’t use the brush.
  • Checking that the brush head is tightly connected to the brush handle before each use. If it feels lose or detaches, don’t use the brush.
  • Following recommended replacement guidelines.
  • That you avoid biting down on the brush head while brushing teeth.

If you’re injured by a Spinbrush or experience problems with one, you can report it to the FDA online at or by calling 1-800-332-1088.

Image: Spinbrush via U.S. Food and Drug Administration.




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