Too Many Kids Using Too Much Toothpaste, CDC Says

photo of child using toothpaste

MONDAY, Feb. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Overuse of toothpaste puts many young American children at increased risk for splotchy or streaky teeth when they're older, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey finds.

The poll of more than 5,000 parents of children aged 3 to 15 found that 40 percent of children aged 3 to 6 used a brush that was full or half-full of toothpaste, rather than the recommended pea-sized amount, the Associated Press reported.

Health officials say children under age 3 should use a smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice, while those aged 3 to 6 should limit it to a pea-sized amount.

The problem with using too much toothpaste is the fluoride in it. While fluoride protects teeth, too much of it when teeth are forming can lead to tooth streaking or spottiness (dental fluorosis), the AP reported.

The survey also found that about 60 percent of children brushed their teeth twice a day, and that about 20 percent of white and black kids, and 30 percent of Hispanic kids, didn't start brushing until they were 3 or older, the AP reported.