Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that has been found to make tooth enamel stronger against acid buildup, which is one of the leading causes of cavities. The right time to start your child on daily fluoride toothpaste depends on how many teeth they have and their risk of getting cavities based on their diet, brushing habits, and family history of tooth decay.
If we find your child is at a higher risk of developing cavities, we recommend using a smear of fluoride toothpaste once a day once they reach the age of one. Otherwise, we recommend waiting until age two or three when most of their baby teeth have erupted. At this time, you can start using a rice- to pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on their toothbrush. We realize most children have not learned how to spit out the toothpaste at this age, but the small amount of fluoride toothpaste is still in a safe range to swallow.
You can also talk to Dr. Christina to find out whether your child would benefit from fluoride treatments at the dental office. Children with particularly deep grooves in their back molars might also benefit from sealants, which can prevent cavities from forming in those teeth.