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When should I give my child fluoridated toothpaste?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released recommendations that all children should be given fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts.

A small smear (no larger than a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used until age 3, then this amount can be increased to the size of a pea. Parents should always be the ones to dispense the toothpaste and should supervise the brushing at all times.

Dental cavities remain the most common chronic childhood condition in the United States, and they are largely preventable with education and proper cleaning. There are risks when using fluoride, but researchers feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. One risk is fluorosis, which causes tooth pitting and weakening. Another more serious risk is ingesting a toxic amount, but this risk can be greatly eliminated by supervising your children each time they brush.

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