Ask a Pediatric Dentist: When Your Child Should Start Using Toothpaste With Fluoride?

Pediatric Dentist Burbank, CA

Children, who are particularly prone to tooth decay, should brush their teeth twice a day and make regular visits to a pediatric dentist. These healthy habits can help reduce the risks of developing cavities and serious dental issues. Using fluoride toothpaste is also an important step in childhood dental care that can add an extra dose of much-needed protection.

The importance of fluoride for oral health

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in a variety of substances, including:

  • Rocks
  • Plants
  • Soil
  • Water

Research has shown that this mineral can help prevent tooth decay by building and strengthening the enamel on teeth. For this reason, it is often added to municipal water supplies and many kinds of toothpaste. Because permanent teeth are still being developed until the late teenage years, it is especially important that children receive enough fluoride to grow stronger, healthier teeth.

Enamel is a tooth's primary defense against cavities. This hard, protective coating helps prevent bacteria from making its way inside. However, enamel can become weakened from acid erosion, excess sugar consumption, or aggressive brushing. Fluoride can help remineralize teeth and restrengthen weak enamel at any age, preventing decay and infection.

Guidelines for fluoride toothpaste

The American Dental Association recommends that children and adults of all ages use fluoride toothpaste on a daily basis. However, the amount used per brushing session varies by age.

Babies and toddlers

In the past, some dentists suggested waiting to use fluoride toothpaste until a child was able to brush without swallowing. However, it is perfectly safe and even recommended to consume fluoride in small, controlled amounts. The anti-cavity properties of fluoride make it especially beneficial for babies and toddlers, who can be more prone to tooth decay because of high levels of milk consumption and the use of bottles and pacifiers.

A pediatric dentist will likely recommend that toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste begin as soon as the first baby teeth erupt. However, only a minimal amount is needed to clean such a small number of tiny teeth. The toothpaste used should measure no more than the size of a single grain of rice.

Young children

Once children reach the age of 3, they have usually developed a better sense of control over the swallowing reflex. When a young child is able to brush without swallowing, parents should increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to a pea-sized drop. This is the maximum amount that should be used by both children and adults; any more is unnecessary.

It is important for parents to supervise the entire brushing process to help children learn good habits and proper technique. This helps ensure a more thorough clean while preventing excessive toothpaste use. Too much fluoride can actually be problematic and may lead to weakened teeth enamel or fluorosis, a whitened discoloration of the teeth.


Fluoride toothpaste is beneficial for oral health. Children should use it in the right amounts to build and strengthen tooth enamel for better protection against cavities. While fluoride toothpaste is recommended for all ages, parents should always talk with a pediatric dentist about the right products, treatments, and home care techniques for their child's specific needs.

Request an appointment here: or call Star Kids Dental & Orthodontics at (818) 483-9064 for an appointment in our Burbank office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Pediatric Dentist in Burbank, CA.

Recent Posts

3 Things To Know About Getting A Baby Root Canal From A Pediatric Dentist

Wondering whether your child needs to undergo baby root canal therapy? Pediatric dentists are dental specialists for children, making it so many parents are choosing to take their child to a pediatric dentist to provide their child with any necessary dental services. Parents can ask this dental professional any questions they have that pertain to…

Oral Health Tips For Your Kids' Teeth From A Pediatric Dentist

Wondering what kind of tips a pediatric dentist can offer so that your kids’ teeth are as healthy as they can be? A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has decided to focus their attention on treating children, which includes those up to the age of about 17. They are specially trained in understanding the…

Tips From A Children’s Dentist To Maintain Oral Health

Trying to teach your kids about oral hygiene can be tricky, but with a little help from your local children's dentist, you can make the process much easier and have them wanting to keep their teeth healthy on their own. It all starts with knowing how to teach them about oral hygiene and how to…

The Importance Of Early Cavity Treatment For Kids

Many parents neglect early cavity treatment for kids, as they may feel that it is not essential because the child’s teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, anyway. However, diagnosing and treating cavities in kids as early as possible is incredibly important. In this review, we discuss the reasons that early…

Recent Posts

Braces For Teens: What Are Your Options?

Braces For Teens: What Are Your Options?

There are now more options than ever for teenagers to reliably and quickly straighten their teeth. Whether you simply want the best results or strongly desire a more discreet treatment, there is an option for you.Here, we discuss the various types of braces for teens, highlighting the differences between each and when one may be…

The Importance Of Taking Your Child To A Routine Dental Checkup

The Importance Of Taking Your Child To A Routine Dental Checkup

Curious about the importance of dental checkups for children? Read on to learn more. As parents, one of your top priorities is making sure your kids have healthy teeth and gums. Maintaining your child's oral health requires regular dental checkups. This article covers some of the reasons why you should take your child in for…