Should Baby Toothpaste Have Fluoride?
With so many different opinions and so much conflicting advice available it can be hard to know what the best thing is to do for your baby. One of the questions people often ask when it comes to caring for babies is “should baby toothpaste have fluoride?”. Some people say yes, others say no..
The reason this is a contentious issue is that while fluoride toothpaste is great at helping you maintain a cavity-free smile it’s not so great for you if you swallow it and it can be overused resulting in problems for the teeth.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in the earth’s crust. You find in it some foods and some water is naturally fluoridated and studies have shown that people who grow up drinking fluoridated water suffer less tooth decay. Hence fluoride becoming known as nature's cavity fighter.
Fluoride works in two ways during the demineralisation and remineralisation processes. Fluoride toothpaste helps protect teeth from the effect of acidic saliva produced when bacteria feed on sugars in the mouth. And it helps replenish the calcium and phosphate ions that make teeth harder and better protected when saliva is less acidic.
Is Fluoride Safe?
Dentists promote the use of fluoride in toothpaste. Provided it is used properly and with the correct dosage fluoride is an effective way of strengthening teeth and protecting against cavities. However, there are risks that come with overuse.
The most common risk is dental fluorosis that children can develop if they are exposed to excess fluoride for an extended period. This can result in white spots or lines on the teeth or occasionally discolouration of the enamel. If you notice this you should talk to your dentist to discuss what should be done.
Also, other than the trace amounts found in water fluoride should not be swallowed. And this is one of the reasons it used not to be recommended for babies under the age of two. Swallowing fluoride in large amounts could kill you, but you would have to eat multiple tubes of toothpaste for that to happen. However swallowing smaller amounts can still lead to an upset stomach, nausea and vomiting.
This is why it’s important to only use a small amount of toothpaste when brushing babies teeth and to teach them from a young age to spit after they finish brushing.
Choosing Toothpaste With or Without Toothpaste
In order for you to make the best choice for you and your children we have chosen to stock toothpaste with and without fluoride and recommend you talk to your dentist or seek further advice elsewhere if you are undecided as to the best option for you.
Next Up: Is It Safe for Babies to Swallow Toothpaste?