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Parents' Interpretation of Instructions to Control the Dose of Fluoridated Toothpaste Used with Young Children

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the average amounts of fluoridated toothpaste applied by parents to a child's toothbrush in response to instructions to limit the quantity to a “pea-sized” or “smear” amount. Methods: Fifty parents of 12- to 71-month-old children participated in this study. They were presented with three toothbrushes and asked to apply the amount of toothpaste they use typically with their child—a smear or a pea-sized quantity. The results were compared to the recommended weights of 0.25 g (pea-sized) and 0.125 g (smear). Results: The mean amount applied in response to a “smear” weighed 0.21±0.19 g, which differed from the recommended weight of 0.125 g (P=.002). The mean amount applied in response to a “pea” weighed 0.30±0.21 g, which was greater than but not statistically significantly different from the recommended weight of 0.25 g (P=.10). Parents applied, on average, 0.33±0.24 g of toothpaste when instructed to apply the amount they typically use with their child. Conclusions: Most parents use more fluoridated toothpaste than is recommended for young children and verbal instructions to limit the dose are ineffective. Education by demonstrating a smear and pea-sized amounts of fluoridated toothpaste is recommended.
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Keywords: CHILDREN; FLUORIDE; INFANT; PARENT EDUCATION

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Health Services, School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA; Pediatric Dentistry School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA; Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training Program, School of Public Health, the School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA. [email protected] 2: School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA 3: Department of Pediatric Dentistry, the School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA

Publication date: 01 May 2013

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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