Exploring the dark side of using fluoridated toothpastes for children
Dental care is an important health consideration that should not be overlooked in children. And a good rule of thumb is to start off your children on a regular brushing routine. While brushing at least twice a day is recommended for proper dental care, the ingredients present in conventional toothpastes stir a little more controversy. The health risks associated with fluoride make it one of the most contentious ingredients present in conventional toothpastes. As it’s not unusual for children to use fluoridated adult toothpastes, and the level of safety of fluoride is low, OTC products and dentifrices that contain fluoride should be stored and used according to the recommendation and should be monitored in children. 1
”Fluoride, an anti-cavity active ingredient, is available in several over-the-counter (OTC) products. Ingestion of fluoride more than the recommended amount leads to toxicity and other adverse effects. It’s important for parents to carefully supervise their children’s use of such fluoride dentifrices and to keep them out of reach of children, especially the little ones under the age of 6. ”2 says, Dr Rohan Virani, a Dentist, MDS(OMMFR) MIFL(GERMANY), AFFLIATE ICOI.
Health Implications of Excessive Fluoride Intake
Fluoride accumulates in the human body over time. While adults retain around 36% of fluoride, children retain approximately 50% of it. About 90% of fluoride is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract after consumption and once this toxic substance is absorbed, it is transported directly into the bloodstream. 3
The potential risks associated with the fluoride use include the development of fluorosis, which may occur when excess levels of fluoride are ingested by children during tooth development. Even a ‘pea-sized’ portion that weighs approximately 0.75 g contains about 0.4 mg of fluoride. Thus, depending on which regimen is used, brushing twice a day delivers approximately 0.8 to 2.0 mg of fluoride. If swallowed, the amount of this harmful substance could be excessive and could lead to the development of fluorosis. 4
Now-a-days, different types of toothpaste are available in market, which are specially designed for children. Most of these conventional toothpastes come in artificial flavors that taste like candy or bubble gum, so the temptation to eat toothpaste can be considerable. Children, especially younger kids, find the favors and sweetness of toothpastes irresistible. In addition, swallowing reflex is not very well developed in children. All these factors cause small children to ingest fluoride at a level that can cause fluorosis and make it difficult for the parents to estimate the amount swallowed. The ingestion of excessive amount of fluorinated toothpaste in children also leads to toxicity and contributes to other serious health implications. 5
“Even though modern parents are aware of the importance of brushing teeth, twice a day, their knowledge about using fluoride dentifrices in children is insufficient. Most parents are neither aware of the proper amount of dentifrice that should be applied on a toothbrush, nor familiar with the type of toothpaste their children should use. It’s best to avoid fluoride and other chemicalized toothpastes in first place. Choose a toothpaste that contains only herbal ingredients, keep up a spot-on your kid’s dental routine and you will not have to worry about fluoride”, says Dr. Virani.
Today, many products containing fluoride are available as prescription and over the counter items. New fluoride products are entering the marketplace at an increased rate and this includes toothpastes, and other fluoride-containing dental care products.7, 8. To protect children from the dangers of fluoride, parents should treat fluoridated adult toothpastes and even the kid’s toothpastes containing fluoride like any other product that contains a toxic substance. Switching to a much more natural cleaning method is the best way to make sure that your little ones get the complete dental care they deserve. Using fluoride-free toothpaste containing only herbal ingredients is simply one part of the equation.
- Lokmat All editions (Date 31st August’2019)
- Tarun Bharat Editions Aurangabad (Date 9th September’2019)
- Kesari Editions Aurangabad(Date 10th September’2019)