Most children use too much toothpaste, and run the risk of having streaky or splotchy teeth as they get older, says an early February report of the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the report based on a survey of parents of 5,000 children aged 3-15 years, 40 percent of three-six-year-olds used toothbrushes that were full or half-full of toothpaste.
While toothpastes with fluoride are recommended, dental health experts recommend that children under three years use a very small quantity — the size of a grain of rice. Children aged three-six years should use a pea-sized amount. Too much fluoride in the formational years can cause tooth streaking or spottiness known as dental fluorosis.
“Fluoride is a wonderful benefit but it needs to be used carefully. You don’t want children eating it like food. We want the parent to be in charge of the toothbrush and the toothpaste,” says Dr. Mary Hayes, a pediatric dentist based in Chicago, who suggests parents monitor their children’s oral care activity closely.