New advice issued last month, to dentists, by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) has advised that the choice of a child’s toothpaste can influence how effectively tooth decay is prevented.
As dentists we’ve known for a long time that it’s important we assess each child as an individual in terms of their risk for dental decay. This assessment allows us to determine the appropriate toothpaste (with the right level of fluoride) to recommend for a child.
The guidelines recommend that most children up to the age of 18 should be using toothpastes with 1000-1500 parts per million fluoride (ppmF).
Children with increased risk of tooth decay should use toothpaste with higher concentrations, with children up to 10 years recommended 1500ppmF and children from 10-16 years recommended 2800ppmF.
So do you know how much fluoride is in your child’s toothpaste and which toothpaste they should be using?
Toothpaste can currently be bought in concentrations from 700ppmF to 1500ppmF, so it’s worth checking if your child’s toothpaste is up to the job! All toothpastes have the level of fluoride marked on the box and on the back of the tube like this:
- Children should not rinse after they have brushed their teeth
- Fluoride varnish should be applied by dentists at least twice a year for all children
- Children under 3 should have only a smear of toothpaste on their brush
- Ensure your child brushes twice a day for 2 minutes (doing it for them until they can do it effectively themselves, usually around age 7/8)
- Ask your dentist/childsmile nurse for guidance on toothbrushing technique and which toothpaste your child should be using
- Ensure your child attends the dentist as regularly as we advise
- Set a good example by looking after your own teeth and visiting the dentist regularly.