The Differences Between Infant And Adult Toothpastes
The primary dentition of children differs greatly from the adult’s dentition. These differences force to acquire different habits and objectives between adults and children. While in adults we seek a thorough cleaning of the teeth, in children we focus on caring for and respecting the still immature oral cavity . Therefore, toothpastes must be fully adapted to these differences.
The most important concern when developing a new infant toothpaste revolves around a mineral, fluoride . This can be added to the paste in the form of different active ingredients: sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate, amine fluoride or stannous fluoride.
Fluoride is an essential mineral for the structure of teeth and bones. In addition, it is known to have a blocking effect on the formation of caries. However, its excess can cause the appearance of dental fluorosis . Fluorosis is a pathology that usually appears in children up to 8 years old and that causes stains and / or stretch marks in the teeth.
For fluoride to have anti-caries activity, it is essential that it be released from its molecule and remain as a fluoride ion . At this point the rest of the ingredients that form the toothpaste acquire great importance, since they can alter or block their release. A clear example of this problem is the binding of fluorides together with an abrasive, calcium carbonate. Calcium is able to react with fluoride, forming calcium fluoride and preventing its action. For this reason, many toothpastes are now used with silicon-based abrasives.
The second most important aspect in the formulation of infant toothpastes is relative to taste, smell, touch and visual appearance . It has been found that adapted toothpastes improve acceptability on the part of children, facilitating their use . Sensitivity and preference of flavors differs between adults and children. In the latter there is usually a preference for sweet flavors, indifference for salty and bitter and rejection for sour. As children grow, rejection of bitter tastes becomes increasingly important. However, it is necessary to reach a balance in this topic, since toothpastes with excessively pleasant flavors can be ingested with greater ease by children .
Finally, in children, the oral mucosa care is more important than the cleaning and care of the teeth. In this sense, infant toothpastes are formulated with very respectful ingredients that do not damage the oral cavity. As the child grows and the mucosa matures, the toothpastes also evolve into formats with greater cleaning capacity.
The selection of toothpaste for children should be based on the preferences of the child. A good experience in brushing is the best weapon for the development of good oral care habits that lead to oral health that lasts for many years .