What do I do if my toddler swallows toothpaste?
Children's toothpaste will be labelled with the quantity and instructions for use. The small amount of toothpaste naturally swallowed when brushing is safe. As always, it is important to follow the on-pack instructions when using any personal care product.
Should I avoid buying toothpaste that contains fluoride for my child?
Fluoride in toothpaste has been recognised as safe and efficacious by regulatory and health authorities as well as the British Dental Association.
Fluoride works in three ways. It reduces the ability of dental plaque organisms to produce; it promotes a chemical reaction in tooth enamel that draws in replacement minerals including calcium; and it reduces the solubility of the enamel on teeth making it more resistant to acid attacks.
As the British Dental Health Foundation sets out below, fluoride naturally occurs in many foods and drinking water:
Source: British Dental Health Foundation - Fluoride
The use of fluoride in toothpastes is controlled by European laws for cosmetic products which set the maximum level that can be used. Also, manufacturers of toothpaste have to label the following information on the pack of any fluoride-containing toothpaste for use by children:
Children of six years and younger use a pea sized amount for supervised brushing to minimise swallowing. In case of intake of fluoride from other sources consult a dentist or doctor.
The NHS recommends children should use toothpaste with fluoride, however, recognising that people should have personal choice, there are toothpastes widely available that are created without fluoride.
Can my toddler use adult toothpaste? If not, at what age can my toddler start using adult toothpaste?
No. According to the BDA children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm, both morning and night. From three to six years old, their toothpaste should contain more than 1000ppm and 1350ppm-1500ppm for children six years or older. Toothpastes will be clearly labelled for the intended age group.