Q: As for home care, you say babies should have their teeth brushed with a tiny “smear” of toothpaste, not just water, as was once recommended. And kids 2-5 should get a little more, a “pea-size” amount. But what about health concerns raised by some groups? The Fluoride Action Network says swallowing fluoride can cause permanent tooth discoloration, stomach ailments, acute toxicity and skin rashes?
A: It’s a question of amount and frequency. If you follow the guideline in terms of a slight smear of toothpaste on the toothbrush and you brush the teeth twice a day, you’re well within the established safety limits for fluoride. … There are lots of water supplies where fluoride is naturally occurring, but the majority are not, so fluoride is added to the water to help as the teeth are forming. The fluoride you get from toothpaste helps the parts that have formed, to enrich them and make them stronger. But this is all done within well established limits of safety. And you only use a tiny little bit to prevent them from swallowing.