Children are using too much toothpaste, it’s unhealthy: CDC

Children are brushing their teeth with so much toothpaste, it’s unhealthy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Nearly 40 percent of kids ages 3- to 6-years-old use more toothpaste than recommended by dentists, a CDC study found. The CDC and the American Dental Association recommend that children in that age group should use no more than a pea-size amount of paste. Children younger than 3 should use only a smear of toothpaste, only the size of a rice grain. 

CDC findings released Friday were based on a survey of parents with children ages 3 to 15, and found about 60 percent of children and teens 3 to 15 used a half or full load of toothpaste. In children 3 to 6, about 12 percent used a smear, 49.2 percent used a pea-size, 20.6 percent used a half load and 17.8 percent used a full load. 

Brushing with too much toothpaste can damage enamel, as children could swallow too much fluoride while their teeth are developing, the CDC says. This can cause dental fluorosis, white marks and discoloration of teeth. 

Brushing habits of about 5,100 children were included in the report based on data from 2013 to 2016. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend that parents begin brushing their child’s teeth with toothpaste at age 2.  Brushing with water is recommended as soon as teeth come in. The CDC survey found that nearly 80 percent of children began brushing after 1 year. 

The data used for the analysis was based on parents’ self-reporting. Also, it is unknown if the toothpaste reported was fluoride or non-fluoride. 

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