Health scare of the week
Kids using too much toothpaste
Parents are putting an unhealthy amount of toothpaste on their kids’ brushes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned. The CDC and the American Dental Association advise that children ages 3 to 6 use no more than a pea-size amount of fluoride paste, to prevent the youngsters from swallowing large amounts while brushing. While fluoride helps prevent cavities—which is why it’s added to toothpaste and tap water—it can also damage and discolor children’s teeth when consumed in excess. But in a CDC study of more than 5,000 kids ages 3 to 15, only 49 percent of the 3-to-6 cohort brushed with the recommended pea-size dollop of paste, and more than 38 percent coated either half or all of the brush. Jonathan Shenkin, a spokesman for the ADA, tells The New York Times that parents should keep buying fluoride toothpaste, “but use it in the proper quantity so your children don’t swallow too much.” The study also found that nearly 80 percent of kids started brushing later than recommended; the CDC says they should begin the moment their first tooth comes through.