Most people grew up seeing a plump swish of toothpaste across the top of the bristles of pristine-looking toothbrushes. However, a trusted dentist in Franklin, NC, will tell you that you only need a fraction of that amount to clean your teeth and provide them with enough fluoride.  

Moreover, using too much toothpaste can cause you to think you’ve gotten your mouth cleaner than you really have. Bacteria-filled plaque may still be left behind even after long smears of tingly mint toothpaste flavors coat your tongue and teeth. We’re here to set the record straight by telling you that when it comes to toothpaste, less is more.  

a little girl holding a tube of toothpaste recommended by a Dentist in Franklin NC

How Much Toothpaste Do People Need?


In the past, dentists instructed parents to avoid having their little ones use any form of fluoridated toothpaste until they’re old enough to rinse well. Otherwise, they might end up accidentally ingesting toothpaste over time.  

It’s worth noting that recommendations from the American Dental Association have changed as new data has become available. Today’s dental health experts recommend using fluoridated toothpaste as soon as a child starts growing teeth.  

While parents should use no more than a thin streak of toothpaste to brush their infant’s teeth, a tiny amount that’s the size of a grain of rice should be enough for brushing a toddler’s teeth.

A full load of toothpaste covers the entire toothbrush head. Studies show that more than 80% of families use a full load of fluoridated toothpaste for children ages one to six. Parents should monitor their kids’ toothbrushing until the age of eight because younger children find it difficult to control their swallowing reflexes.

While accidental toothpaste ingestion won’t be enough to cause intestinal issues or problems with dental development, using too much toothpaste increases their chance of swallowing toothpaste, causing damage to their enamel, and developing stains on their teeth.


Everyone has their own personal preference for the amount of foam, moisture, and taste in their toothbrushing experience. However, only a pea-sized dab of toothpaste is needed for cleaning an adult’s teeth. That’s about the size of a chocolate chip or a kernel of corn.  

While experts recommend a certain amount, you shouldn’t get too hung up on how much toothpaste you’re supposed to put on your toothbrush because there isn’t a toothbrushing police officer monitoring your use.

If using a bit more toothpaste encourages you to brush for at least two minutes, go ahead. However, it’s important to note that covering the entire surface of your toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste isn’t necessary for ensuring optimal oral health. In other words, liberal use of toothpaste doesn’t always guarantee thorough cleaning.  

Furthermore, if you’re using fluoridated toothpaste, you’ll want to avoid rinsing with water or mouthwash after brushing. Dentists generally recommend waiting at least 30 minutes after brushing before having a drink. The longer the toothpaste stays on your teeth, the more fluoride they get.

Prescription Strength Toothpaste

In some cases, dentists prescribe special toothpaste for their patients to use. Since prescription toothpaste typically has higher fluoride concentrations, they’re usually sold behind your local pharmacy’s counter. If your dentist instructed you to use this product, you’d want to do so at night after brushing with another toothpaste. This ensures that the prescription-grade product will have maximum contact with your clean teeth.

a Dentist in Franklin NC with a smiling patient

Looking for a Dentist in Franklin, NC?

At Cataloochee Dental Group, we offer skilled, caring, and advanced dentistry to meet your smile goals. If you’re ready to receive top-quality dental care in a safe, comfortable, and relaxing atmosphere, contact our office today to make an appointment.