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Oral Care Medicine Safety

Good oral care is part of good overall healthcare. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings should be a key part of everyone’s healthcare regimen. Poor oral or dental hygiene can cause cavities (also known as caries) and gingivitis, and has been linked with other health conditions.

Here is general information to help keep you smiling and healthy:

Fluoride is a natural element that is extremely effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities. It can be found in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and is even added to the water supply in some communities. As important as fluoride is, there are a few things parents must know as fluoride relates to children especially. The American Dental Association recommends that:

In addition to general information about fluoride and children, here are some more tips for parents:

For more tips about oral care medicine safety specifically if you're a parent, pregnant or nursing, or caring for a senior, there is more information in each section of OTCsafety.org.

For information on the listing of fluoride under Proposition 65 in California, see our frequently asked questions guide.

Toothpaste Ingredients 

Caring for Teething Babies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a communication regarding a rare adverse effect in professional and OTC products containing benzocaine. OTC gel and liquid medications containing benzocaine provide relief for children and adults who experience mouth pain. While FDA’s announcement notes very rare but serious instances of methemoglobinemia, a condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is reduced, associated with these benzocaine medications, these products are safe when used as directed for the large majority of consumers. Due to these rare instances, FDA has recommended that the products not be used in children under two years of age except under the advice of a healthcare professional.


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