The world today is saturated with plethora of toothpaste types; and patients frequently have a very common question to ask ‘which toothpaste should I use’, else better, is ‘natural’ toothpaste good for me? As far as adults are concerned, any toothpaste option fits their bill as long as the toothpaste has something novel to offer and is trending on top of the notch oral care products on the internet or across coffee tables. Tables are turned, when it comes to children, the bar rises somewhat higher and adults become more concerned with the ingredients rather the whole recipe of toothpaste which they would like to introduce to their children as parents or caretakers.
What is a ‘Natural’ toothpaste?
As the name indicates, natural toothpaste is toothpaste which contains naturally occurring salts, oils, charcoal, formulated to provide a mouthful foaming experience. Coconut oil takes a lead in this regard owing to the multitudinous health benefits of coconut in totality. Ayurvedic extracts like Neem, Aloe Vera and even papaya are used as ingredients of oral pastes for keeping the oral cavity fit and fine. For those allergic to wheat products, gluten free toothpaste are hitting the shelves more than ever owing to a changing lifestyle.
How safe are natural toothpastes to use in children?
Natural toothpaste has shown reasonably good acceptance by children although their formal seal of approval from regulatory agencies like FDA is still awaited. More and a number of data suggest ayurvedic formulations be equally effective where products like clove, turmeric and acacia add to naturally occurring benefits of toothpaste. These natural toothpaste are considered safe for brushing as long as they are not ingested or swallowed. Besides their anti-cavity effects, these toothpastes also provide protection against bad breath and gum diseases like bleeding gums and pyorrhea.
Is Fluoride essential in a toothpaste?
Fluoride is a tiny nutrient found in traces in naturally occurring food products such as fish and tea. Although fluoride has been found to be effective as a key agent to help fight tooth decay and make teeth stronger in resisting bacterial attack, yet its role in some of the advanced economies has been questioned lately. A still viable option nowadays is calcium and phosphorous formula available widely as over the counter tooth cremes. Kids especially adore flavors like mint which help improve their oral health.
My child swallow toothpaste while brushing. Should I be concerned?
The answer is yes. While many toothpastes claim to provide you a high level of threshold against potential side effects, swallowing large amounts of these toothpastes can cause harm to your children’s body, as large doses of associated fluoride ingestion leads to kidney and bone ailments. It is always advisable to read fluoride content of toothpaste used at home so that the margins are in safe limits. Despite all your best efforts, if your child still swallows or has accidentally taken in a large amount of toothpaste, help him by having a glass of milk to neutralize harmful effects of fluoride or else consult a dentist.
How much natural toothpaste should kids use for brushing their teeth?
A pea-size amount of natural toothpaste taken on tip of the index finger is recommended for children for brushing their teeth twice a day. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends parent assisted tooth brushing in children, wherein parents must stand behind the kid while looking in front of the mirror and helping to live model correct technique of tooth brushing for a minimum of three minutes per session for best results.
Are natural toothpastes better than floss?
Toothpastes and floss have a hand in glove relationship. One modality complements the other. It is highly advisable that flossing should be done after brushing since floss reaches areas that are hard to reach by tooth brushing alone. Natural flosses coated with beeswax are great adjuncts to help prevent tooth decay in children. Children have a natural tendency to get attracted to sweets and chocolates which are detrimental to oral health. Correct use of toothpastes and floss greatly reduces the likelihood of development and progression of cavities. To enhance the effectiveness of toothpastes flossing is recommended.
When it comes to kids dental care you should opt only a specialist. There are children dentist or child dental clinic which is specially for the needs of kids. The doctors are trained to handle the kids in the best possible way.
Dr. Karan Sharma
BDS MDS (Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry)