CDC Study Finds Almost 40% of America’s Kids Using Too Much Toothpaste
By Clete Campbell
Too much toothpaste can be dangerous to kids’ oral health.
Say what, Doc?
Parents may do a double take at the news, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls and Preventions reports America’s children are brushing their teeth with so much toothpaste that it’s unhealthy.
A CDC study released February 1 found nearly 40 percent of kids ages 3 to 6 use more toothpaste than recommended by dentists. How much is too much? The American Dental Association and the CDC advise children ages 3-6 use no more than a pea-size amount of paste. Children younger than 3 should use only a smear (the size of a rice grain).
However, the CDC’s survey of parents with children age 3 to 15 found in children ages 3-6, only 12 percent used a smear, 49.2 percent used a pea-size amount, 20.6 used a half load and an alarming 17.8 percent used a full load. The study observed the brushing habits of about 5,100 children from 2013-2016.
Parents may wonder, “Why is children using too much toothpaste a problem?”
The CDC stresses brushing with too much toothpaste can damage enamel, because children could swallow too much fluoride while their teeth are developing. This can lead to dental flourosis, the white marking and discolorization of teeth.
“(The CDC study) found that young children are using too much toothpaste and swallowing too much of it,” Newser.com’s Jenn Gidman writes, “which also means they’re swallowing the fluoride in it.”
The good news: The CDC’s study found America’s parents are teaching their young children the importance of daily regular and thorough brushing. The CDC survey found nearly 80 percent of children began brushing after 1 year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents begin brushing their child’s teeth with toothpaste at age 2.
But as with everything in life, children need to learn to use toothpaste with healthy moderation.
As Forbes’ Bruce Y. Lee jokes, “If you are foaming at the mouth while brushing, you are most likely either a werewolf or using too much toothpaste.”