The Human Body

Visualized Facts | Fluorosis & Kids' Teeth | 3 Charts

By Charles Li MD

February 27, 2019

  • Fluorosis occurs when kids ingest too much fluoride.

  • Fluoride can be found in toothpaste, mouthwash, and drinking water. When kids accidently swallow toothpaste, they risk getting fluorosis.

  • Unfortunately, it is on the rise in the United States according to the CDC.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association, and the CDC all agree, kids need to brush their teeth. Cavities are a serious issue in kids and adults and they can be prevented with good dental hygiene.

However, new research shows that many parents may be doing it incorrectly.

Dental Fluorosis is a common condition that occurs most often in children and young adults. For the most part, it is harmless but it can cause discoloration, staining, or pitting of the teeth.

Unfortunately, according to the CDC, it is on the rise in the United States.

Source: Flurosis (CDC)

What is Fluoride and why do you need it for your teeth?

Fluoride reduces cavities in teeth

Fluoride promotes better dental health by helping your teeth strengthen enamel. Enamel is the tough outer layer of your teeth that protects your teeth and gives them strength for chewing.

Studies have shown that fluoride, when used correctly, reduces cavities.

Cavities matter, even for kids

Data on the prevalence of cavities in kids

This matters because cavities are surprisingly common in kids. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 50% of kids will have cavities by age 5. Much of this is preventable through good oral hygiene including brushing and flossing.

Source: Dental Health & Hygiene for Young Children

Using too much toothpaste can be harmful for kids

Fluorosis facts and statistics

As with any activity, proper form is key.

Many kids tend to use too much toothpaste. While adults generally spit out any toothpaste they use, kids may swallow their toothpaste. This can lead to too much fluoride entering the body.

Fluorosis is a condition that occurs with too much fluoride. Most of the fluoride we take in comes from toothpaste, mouthwash, and fluoridated drinking water. While fluoride is good for you when applied to your mouth, it can be harmful when swallowed.

The symptoms of Dental Fluorosis include staining and discoloration of the teeth. In severe cases (which are rare), you can have pitting.

Fluorosis has been on the rise in the United States. From the 80s to the 00s, moderate and severe cases of fluorosis have approximately doubled according to the CDC.

Source: Prevalence and Severity of Dental Fluorosis in the United States, 1999-2004

How Much Toothpaste Should You Use?

Guide to Toothpaste and Kids

Generally, kids under age 2 should not be using fluoridated toothpaste. They cannot fully prevent themselves from swallowing it.

By age 2-3, kids should be brushing twice a day with just a small smear of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. This amount reduces the potential fluoride intake in case they accidently swallow some.

After age 3, kids should be brushing twice a day with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. They should, at this age, be generally trusted to use it correctly.

Source: Use of Toothpaste and Toothbrushing Patterns Among Children and Adolescents — United States, 2013–2016

Explore More
thumbnail for microbiome-kids-development
thumbnail for music-therapy-depression
thumbnail for heart-attack-mortality-data
thumbnail for reading-math-intelligence
thumbnail for diet-drinks-vs-regular-soda
thumbnail for school-breakfast-obesity
thumbnail for mushrooms-dementia
thumbnail for workout-over-40
thumbnail for genetics-morning-people
thumbnail for physician-burnout-effects
thumbnail for walking-thinking
thumbnail for caffeine-calories
thumbnail for autism-mmr-stats
thumbnail for hivcure
thumbnail for heart-rhythm-monitor
thumbnail for words-predict-depression
thumbnail for butter-olive-oil-coconut-oil
thumbnail for pushups-heart-health
thumbnail for fluorosis-kids-teeth
thumbnail for brownfat
thumbnail for tolerancestudy
thumbnail for ketaminefda
thumbnail for systemicsclerosis
thumbnail for parentagreement
thumbnail for dietexercisecognition
thumbnail for maternityhospitals
thumbnail for catbiteguide
thumbnail for ultraprocessedfoods
thumbnail for bmigfr
thumbnail for nightsweats
thumbnail for hiv2030
thumbnail for vapeyouth
thumbnail for opioidprojections
thumbnail for cavitykids
thumbnail for ptsdstats
thumbnail for penicillinallergies
thumbnail for frostbiteaid
thumbnail for lipoproteina
thumbnail for opioidpayments
thumbnail for carbenergy
thumbnail for socialanxietysigns
thumbnail for sadsymptoms
thumbnail for healthequality
thumbnail for eggcellent
thumbnail for top_5_anxiety_disorders
thumbnail for kidactivity
thumbnail for flu2019
thumbnail for writingtyping
thumbnail for sahealth
thumbnail for depressionmi
thumbnail for brcaova
thumbnail for flightscience
thumbnail for travelerdia