February 4, 2019
by Peter Dockrill, Science Alert
We all know that we need to brush our teeth regularly to prevent the risk of cavities and gum disease, but according to a new report by the CDC, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
Specifically, a new analysis of the dental hygiene habits of children and adolescents in the US reveals that almost 40 percent of young American kids are using too much toothpaste when they brush their teeth. Despite what we know about the benefits of fluoride, there is a limit to how much toothpaste you should be squeezing onto your brush.
“Children aged < three years should use a smear the size of a rice grain, and children aged > three years should use no more than a pea-sized amount (0.25 grams) until age six years, by which time the swallowing reflex has developed sufficiently to prevent inadvertent ingestion,” researchers, led by oral health specialist Gina Thornton-Evans from the National Centre for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion, explain in the new CDC report.
Despite these guidelines, when the team analysed survey data sourced from over 5,000 children and adolescents who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), they found that approximately 38 percent of children aged between three and six years used more toothpaste than what’s recommended by the CDC and other professional organisations.
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