New research from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has found children are using far too much toothpaste. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) agrees, saying less is more for both adults and children.
So how much is too much and what are the risks? Here’s what the home doctor team at House Call Doctor recommends.
What happens when you use too much toothpaste?
If a child ingests too much toothpaste containing fluoride, a compound that helps strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay, their risk of developing a dental condition known as dental fluorosis increases.
"Fluoride in too higher concentration mixes with the other minerals that are trying to develop in our teeth. We have multiple minerals that make up our teeth and it basically changes the ratios," Senior Vice-President of the Australian Dental Association Queensland, Norah Ayad said.
Fluorosis can cause a chemical imbalance which causes teeth to become stained or discoloured, and in severe cases, affect the quality of their surface.
"Because the mineral content of the teeth is changing, it can make the surface of the teeth not as smooth," Mr Ayad said.
"It's much easier to brush and clean a smooth surface — things are going to wipe off it easier — compared to a really rough and raggedy surface which is what you get with quite severe fluorosis."
So how much toothpaste should I use?
While most people will squeeze a ribbon of toothpaste along the length of their brush, experts say that adults only need one, pea-sized blob of fluoridated toothpaste when brushing.
"I think the reason we're used to smearing the length of the toothbrush is advertising from the companies," Mr Ayad said.
"[As adults], it's not going to cause any damage because our teeth are already developed, it's just going to waste toothpaste."