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How effective is your Children’s Toothpaste?

January 21, 2010

Recent studies done out of the University of Manchester in England have found that many kids toothpastes may in fact be ineffectual against tooth decay. A key ingredient to fighting off cavities is fluoride, which when used can remineralize tooth enamel as well as inhibit oral bacteria.  It has been lauded by dentists and public health organizations as the best way to keep your teeth clean, healthy, and strong. However, the recent studies have discovered that toothpaste fluoride concentrations need to be more than 1000 parts per million, and anything less will make the fluoride’s cleaning abilities negligible. The biggest concern stemming from this research is that many children’s toothpastes contain weaker concentrations of fluoride than that recommended, meaning that children are not getting the added benefits of having fluoride in their toothpaste. Ironically, it is known that using too much fluoride continuously up to the age of six can lead to mild cases of dental fluorosis, which can range from dark brown blotches to mild white patches.  This has been one of the major deterrents in the use of fluoride, causing many parents to avoid the use of fluoride altogether. Luckily, the risk of brown blotches is very low.  A child would have to swallow a large amount of fluoride toothpaste over a long period of time for that to occur.  The more common outcome is mild white patches, which is nothing more than a subtle change in cosmetic appearance.  In this case, the benefits of fluoride far outweigh the risk of fluorosis, especially for children with high risks of tooth decay. Many oral care brands like Tom’s of Maine and Kiss My Face offer children’s toothpastes with the recommended amount of fluoride, insuring that your kids get the proper oral care that they need.