Lots of parents are giving their kids way too much toothpaste, CDC warns

Kids use too much toothpaste
(Image credit: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

Children ages 3 to 6 should use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste, but 38 parent of parents are squeezing much more onto the toothbrush, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a new report. Young kids who use too much fluoride toothpaste usually end up swallowing more, leading to the discoloration of emerging teeth through a condition called dental fluorosis. Children under 3 should also use toothpaste, but only a little smear, the American Dental Association advises. Dental fluorosis does not affect adults or children's overall dental health, the ADA says.

There is conflicting advice on whether young children should use fluoride toothpaste at all — since 2014, the ADA and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggest using fluoride toothpaste on children as soon as their teeth emerge, as young as 6 months old, while the CDC advises that parents use non-fluoride toothpaste until age 2. Only 20 percent of parents are heeding dentists' advice to start brushing their kids' teeth as soon as they are visible, the CDC reports.

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