You might want to keep your voice down if you’re in Portland discussing this news: The American Dental Association has switched up its advice on baby tooth care. Namely, that fluoride toothpaste should be introduced as soon as that first tooth shows up, instead of waiting until kids are three.
While some corners of the country aren’t so keen on fluoride — including Portland, which doesn’t have it in its drinking water — the ADA says parents should start with a rice-grain size smear of fluoride toothpaste on a child’s first teeth, reports USA Today.
Once a child reaches age three, parents should work up to a pea-size blob, the ADA says in its newly updated guidelines in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
This is in line with a smaller group’s advice, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, but is likely going to cause quite the stir among parents who have always been told to wait on the fluoride.
So why the change now? The group is worried about the 25% of U.S. children who develop cavities before kindergarten, explained the chair of the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs.
Using a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste could help prevent cavities, the ADA’s scientific review found, as well as helping discourage a discoloration of the teeth known as fluorosis that can happen with overexposure to fluoride early on.
Basically, it can make your pearly whites stay pearly and hole-free, according to the ADA’s research, but go easy on the stuff.
The ADA adds that kids should also be taught to always spit out their excess toothpaste as quick as they can, which as any parent knows isn’t the easiest thing to do. Especially if the stuff tastes like fudge.