When it comes to our children’s teeth, parents always want to make sure they’re doing the best things they can to ensure a healthy smile. You may be tempted to try out some of the “latest and greatest” dental fads, but beware. These fads are typically not something dentists recommend because there hasn’t been enough research done. Instead of trying out these dental fads, on your child or yourself, speak with a professional about alternative options that are tried and true.
- Fluoride-Free Toothpastes
Training with toothpastes that are fluoride-free are popular among parents with infants and toddlers. For years, they have been recommended before a child learns not to swallow the toothpaste during brushing. Another popular option was to brush with just water until age 2. But now, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry along with the American Dental Association has updated their recommendation when it comes to fluoride in toothpaste. Fluoride is an important part of fighting tooth decay, and even though they’re only baby teeth, baby teeth are just as important to the developing adult teeth.
Rather than a fluoride free toothpaste, pediatric dentists recommend using a tiny smear of toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice, with fluoride for children under 3 years old and to brush baby teeth two times per day. Between the ages of 3 and 6, use a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste. Using kid friendly fluoride toothpaste is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
- DIY Teeth Whitening
If you, your child or your teenager have noticed tooth discoloration, there may be temptation to try an at-home, DIY whitening treatment. Some of the most popular include brushing with a baking soda and lemon combination or rinsing with hydrogen peroxide. The make-it-yourself paste puts acidic lemon juice straight onto the teeth where it can begin attacking tooth enamel immediately. Hydrogen peroxide, while used in many whitening treatments, should never be used alone in the mouth. It’s dangerous to the surface of teeth and to gums. Plus, children are often tempted to swallow their toothpaste or rinse, and swallowing hydrogen peroxide can cause your child to become very ill.
- Activated Charcoal
From charcoal face masks to toothpaste, activated charcoal has become very popular. Those who use it claim that it contains detoxifying properties. Using it on teeth is thought to naturally clean and whiten them. But pediatric dentists warn that charcoal is very abrasive and shouldn’t be used on teeth. Its abrasive nature can damage tooth enamel permanently. Plus charcoal toothpastes do not contain an adequate amount of fluoride, so using them regularly can put your child’s teeth at risk for tooth decay and cavities.
- Oil Pulling
Google “Oil Pulling” and you can find that this method claims to cure almost anything. As an alternative medicine, promoters claim that oils like coconut oil “pull” toxins from the body to help with conditions such as headaches, migraines, asthma, and tooth discoloration. When it comes to your child’s teeth and overall oral health, nothing beats brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, making smart diet choices and regular dental checkups with your pediatric dentist. Don’t get us wrong, we love coconut oil, but there is just no research to back up the claims that it can clean or whiten your teeth, and it definitely cannot “heal” cavities.
Consult with Dr. Bright
If you have heard about a new dental trend that you want to try out, especially for your toddler or child, speak with your child’s dentist first. Dr. Bright and the team at Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry would be happy to go over any concerns we have about the treatment, and provide you with alternative options to keep your child’s smile looking and functioning great. Dr. Bright’s number one goal is to set your child up for a lifetime of great oral health. Give us a call or use our online contact form to get in touch with our team today!