How Much Toothpaste Should I Use?

Chances are, the amount of toothpaste that you use each day has been the same since you can remember ever brushing your teeth. You may be surprised to find out that you’re probably using too much! Sure, most people know that they want to keep the product out of the reach of children (in case of accidental ingestion) but is there such a thing as too much or too little on your toothbrush each day?

Less is More

Using too much toothpaste (like the long smears you see on commercials) can mask your mouth into thinking you’ve gotten it cleaner than you really have. As the tingly mint flavors and sensations coat your tongue and teeth, there may still be plaque left behind. Using a smaller amount will provide your tooth enamel with adequate fluoride while helping you to detect any areas that may not be getting as clean as they ought to.

In fact, some dentists and hygienists even recommend brushing your teeth without toothpaste first, and then going back after your teeth feel clean to brush again with toothpaste. This helps the fluoride and other minerals work better and can significantly reduce the amount of plaque or tartar buildup that people tend to get between dental checkups.

A Pea Sized Amount for Adults

For adults or anyone that’s old enough to brush their teeth independently (including children that can rinse well and floss on their own,) only a pea sized amount of toothpaste is necessary. Anything more than this is unnecessary.

Rice Grain Sized Smears for Kids

As soon as your little one starts to get teeth, it’s important to start using fluoridated toothpaste. Recommendations from the American Dental Association have changed as new data has become available. In the past, parents were told to avoid having their toddler use any form of fluoridated toothpaste until they were able to rinse well (to avoid accidental ingestion over time.) Today, experts recommend using fluoridated products earlier, but only an amount that’s the size of a grain of rice. That way if it’s accidentally swallowed, it won’t be enough to cause intestinal problems or issues with tooth development.

What About Prescription Strength Toothpaste?

If your dentist prescribes a special toothpaste for you to use, he or she may want you to use it at night after you’ve already brushed with another toothpaste. That way the prescription grade product can have maximum contact with your already clean teeth and work as designed.

Most prescription toothpastes contain a higher concentration of fluoride, which is why they’re sold behind the counter at pharmacies.

As with everyday toothpastes, you only need to use an amount about the size of a pea when you’re brushing with a prescription grade gel. Any more than that, and you could accidentally swallow too much fluoride and get an upset stomach.

Ask your Kois Center dentist about which type of toothpaste you should be using or if a prescription toothpaste is necessary.