Toddlers and Fluoride Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

You know that brushing with fluoride toothpaste is an important part of keeping your smile healthy and white, but is fluoride safe to use on your toddler's teeth?

True or False: You should begin brushing your child's teeth with a fluoride toothpaste as soon as you see the first baby tooth break through his or her gums.

While good oral hygiene is important from the start, you should never use fluoride toothpaste on children younger than 2, unless otherwise instructed by the child's doctor or dentist.

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What are the three forms of fluoride approved by the FDA for use in toothpaste?

The three fluoride compounds approved for dental use in the United States are stannous fluoride (fluoride combined with elemental tin), sodium fluoride (fluoride and sodium), and sodium monofluorophosphate (a different compound of fluoride and sodium). Please don't try the others on your teeth!

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What should you use to clean the teeth and gums of infants and very young children?

While fluoride-free toothpastes are widely available and generally safe for young children, a soft brush and some plain water are all you need for babies and toddlers younger than 2.

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How much fluoride toothpaste should you use for children between the ages of 2 and 6?

In most cases, the recommended dose is just a pea-sized amount on the brush, since even closely supervised children are likely to swallow at least as much toothpaste as they spit out.

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What is dental fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is a discoloration of the permanent teeth that occurs when young children consume too much fluoride during the time when their permanent teeth are still developing within the gums.

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Fluoride exists naturally in nearly all water sources. What fluoride level does the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend for drinking water?

According the ADA, the ideal fluoride level is .7 parts per million (ppm). Up to 1.2 ppm is considered acceptable, but more than that may put your children at risk for developing dental fluorosis. If your water contains more than 2 ppm of fluoride, the ADA recommends that you use bottled or treated water.

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For whom does the American Dental Association recommend fluoride supplements?

The ADA recommends fluoride supplements (taken as lozenges or chewable tablets) for children between 3 and 16 years of age whose drinking water has a fluoride level below 0.6 ppm.

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What should you do if your child occasionally swallows all of the toothpaste used to brush his or her teeth?

As long as you're using no more than the recommended pea-sized amount, just continue to closely supervise brushing and keep reminding your child to spit. If he or she won't or can't spit, talk to your pediatrician about using less toothpaste or switching to a fluoride-free paste or plain water until the child is able to avoid swallowing.

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True or False: In rare and extreme cases, fluoride poisoning can be fatal.

Although such cases are extremely rare, a significant overdose of fluoride can potentially be fatal.

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What are some common symptoms of a fluoride overdose?

The most common symptoms of a fluoride overdose include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. At higher levels, fluoride poisoning can cause weakness, shallow breathing and convulsions.

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What should you do if you suspect your child may have ingested too much fluoride, whether from a tube of toothpaste, a fluoride rinse or any other source?

If you suspect that your child has swallowed more than the amount used for brushing, call the National Poison Control Center immediately, at 800-222-1222.

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In addition to toothpaste and drinking water, fluoride is commonly found in which foods?

Fluoride occurs naturally in many foods such as meats and certain vegetables. Many fruit juices and sodas are high in fluoride, as they are made with fluoridated water. Even baked goods, snacks, baby foods and other processed foods may contain significant amounts of fluoride.

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Where does fluoride come from?

Fluoride is a natural mineral found abundantly in water, soil and rocks throughout the Earth's crust. Fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine, meaning simply that it has one extra electron that gives it a negative charge.

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According to the American Dental Association, why should children under the age of 6 NOT use a fluoride mouth rinse?

The ADA recommends the use of fluoride mouth rinses for adults and children older than 6 years old, as younger children are likely to swallow the rinse.

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How does the fluoride in toothpaste help to prevent tooth decay and cavities?

Topical fluoride prevents bacteria from forming acids that erode the tooth enamel and cause decay. And in areas of the teeth that have already been damaged by acids, fluoride builds up in the weakened areas and begins to strengthen, or remineralize, the teeth.

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True or False: Breastfeeding mothers should take fluoride supplements to ensure that their infants receive adequate fluoride.

Infants do not need to have their breast milk supplemented with fluoride. In fact, there is some debate even among health professionals as to whether it's OK to mix infant formula with fluoridated water.

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When should children make their first visit to the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children visit the dentist sometime around their third birthdays; possibly earlier if the child shows signs of dental problems such as staining or tooth decay.

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People are at risk of developing dental fluorosis until what age?

Dental fluorosis is a concern for children 8 years and younger, since this is when permanent teeth are developing under the gums. Once the teeth have developed and broken through the gums, they can no longer develop fluorosis.

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What is the recommended daily fluoride intake for children?

While the recommended daily fluoride intake for adult women and men is 3 mg and 4 mg, respectively, the recommended intake for children is calculated by multiplying .05 times the child's weight in kilograms. So a 20 kg (40 pound) child would need about 1 mg of fluoride per day.

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How much fluoride is too much for a child?

The ADA has established an "upper limit" of .10 mg per kg per day for children under the age of 8; 10 milligrams per day for older children and adults regardless of weight.

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