The dental status of adolescents and adults has continued to improve in recent decades. But while, for example, For 12-year-olds, the incidence of tooth decay has been reduced by around 75 percent since 1997, and the record for younger children with deciduous teeth is far from pleasing. Here, the tooth decay was reduced in the same period only by 28 percent. Concretely, in an average milk denture of a six-year-old, on average, 1.73 teeth have caries. In older children with permanent teeth, there are on average only 0.44 carious teeth.
In addition, the deciduous dentition has only 20 and not 28 teeth (the wisdom teeth are not counted in this consideration). The actual damage in the deciduous dentition is thus even greater in comparison. According to dental associations from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, dental care and dental care have improved considerably, and the subject “dental health “Today has a higher priority than 20 years ago.
New Recommendations For Preschoolers
Nevertheless, the experts agree that the problem of tooth decay should not be underestimated – especially since the decline is noticeably lower than in older children and adolescents. The scientists and dentists have therefore made new recommendations for fluoridated toothpaste: They demand that children between the ages of 2 and 6 brush their teeth twice daily with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 0.1% fluoride. This corresponds to the previous recommendations of 0.05% of a doubling of the fluoride content.
The current recommendations are the result of new meta-analyses and clinical studies demonstrating that toothpaste with a lower fluoride concentration does not provide adequate protection against caries on deciduous teeth. The scientists re-evaluated existing studies and included new studies in the evaluation.
Fluoride – A Trace Element With Many Critics
Fluoride is a widely used trace element found in low concentrations throughout our environment. These are salts of hydrofluoric acid, which naturally occurs in various chemical compositions.
Fluoride accumulates in the enamel and protects it against acids that are produced when chewing sugar or carbonated foods and drinks in the mouth. So that it exerts its protective effect, fluoride should not be swallowed: it is enough to brush your teeth regularly and for long enough with a fluoride toothpaste. For this reason, an additional fluoride intake through food, in the form of fluoridated table salt or fluoride in drinking water additions (such as, among others, in the US or Australia is usual) from dental view unnecessary. However, studies have shown that a higher fluoride content in the toothpaste increases the protective function of the enamel. Toothpaste for adults should, therefore, have a minimum fluoride content of 0.1 percent. Even better is even a slightly higher proportion, which is close to the limit of 0.15 percent.
For children’s toothpaste, the fluoride concentration is lower, as they ingest the toothpaste more often – often on purpose. This may develop so-called dental fluorosis, in which white spots or lines form on the enamel. The reason for this is fluoride deposits in the enamel of the deciduous teeth, which are not a health risk, but above all an aesthetic problem. In addition, there is a risk of dental fluorosis, especially for children up to about the second year of life, because until then, as a rule, all the deciduous teeth have broken through.
This risk was taken into account in the new recommendations of the expert group. Nevertheless, dentists and scientists came to the conclusion that the benefits of a higher fluoride concentration in pediatric toothpaste outweighed. They recommend that parents use a smaller amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, during their first two years of life. In addition, the experts call on the industry to provide the tubes of children’s toothpaste with smaller openings and also ensure by the viscosity of the toothpaste that it can be portioned easier. From the age of six, children should then use toothpaste for adults with higher levels of fluoride to optimally protect their teeth.