When you take your child to the dentist, you expect to be asked questions like, “How often do they brush their teeth?” and “Do they floss regularly?”, but one thing you might not expect to hear is, “Are they getting enough fluoride in the water they drink?” Fluoride is an incredibly important mineral when it comes to protecting your little one from tooth decay and making sure their smiles develop safely. Read on to learn more from a children’s dentist about the impact fluoride can have on a growing grin.
What Does Fluoride Do?
As you probably know, tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth break down the sugars that you eat and turn them into acids that eat away at enamel. If this process isn’t stopped or treated in time, cavities will start to form.
However, fluoride – a mineral that’s found in drinking water – can actively protect the tooth from decay in two ways. First, it helps remineralize the teeth, essentially helping to repair it. (It can’t be used to fill a cavity, but it can reverse decay in its earliest stages.) And second, it provides protection against the acids produced by bacteria, thus stopping decay from happening in the first place.
Should Children Use Fluoride?
Children of all ages are vulnerable to cavities, but fluoride combined with a healthy oral hygiene routine can help keep their teeth safe. Some parents are concerned about whether or not fluoride is safe for children, but rest assured that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all agree that fluoridated water is safe for children and highly effective for preventing decay.
What Can I Do If My Child Isn’t Getting Enough Fluoride?
If your tap water doesn’t contain fluoride, you can look for fluoridated bottled water. It’s also highly recommended that you use fluoride-based toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth, although you should only use a very small amount (about a “smear” for children under three and a pea-sized amount for children over the age of three).
In some cases, your child might benefit from a fluoride treatment from their dentist. During this simple process, the fluoride is applied topically to your child’s teeth as needed. Your child might also be given fluoride supplements in the form of tablets. The amount of fluoride they receive during their treatment depends on their age and how much fluoride they’ve already received naturally.
Talk to your children’s dentist about your little one’s fluoride needs and how you can make sure they’re met. Over the long term, you’ll find that paying closer attention to the amount of fluoride your little one receives can make all the difference for their oral health.
About the Practice
At Capron Park Dental, we’re bringing Attleboro and its surrounding areas superior dental care thanks to the combined skills and experience of Drs. Herr, Luccio, Vo, and Jafari. For our youngest patients, we take a friendly, fun approach to oral hygiene that puts them on the path towards a lifetime of healthy smiles. To schedule an appointment and ask about the amount of fluoride your child receives, visit our website or call (508) 222-5950.