Fluoride is probably one of the most talked about topics in pediatric dentistry, with much controversy surrounding its benefits and safety. However, the reality is that fluoride has actually been proven to be extremely beneficial in reducing tooth decay and cavities, especially in children. Read this article to learn more about how fluoride can benefit your child’s teeth!
Helps Prevent Cavities
When ingested, fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel and remineralizing demineralized areas. Along with brushing and flossing, it forms a protective layer on teeth that makes them more resistant to cavities. Children who live in communities with fluoridated water have fewer cavities than those who don’t; studies show they can reduce their risk of developing tooth decay by up to 40 percent. And if you’re worried about your child swallowing too much fluoride—don’t be! The recommended amount is only 1 milligram per day, which is usually less than what you’d get from a daily glass of water or other foods or drinks (like juice).
Assists With Enamel Development
To be strong and healthy, enamel needs a mineral called fluorine. Water helps carry fluorine to developing teeth, so an adequate water supply can help ensure children have enough of it during tooth development. Fluoride toothpaste also supplies fluorine to teeth. Kids up to 6 years old should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste because they may swallow more than is recommended.
Keeps Gums Healthy
When most people think of fluoride, they immediately associate it with dental health. But did you know that fluoride is also beneficial for your child’s gums? By coating and strengthening tooth enamel, as well as hydrating gums, fluoride makes it more difficult for bacteria to infect your mouth. This helps protect your child from gum disease (aka periodontal disease), which affects nearly half of adults over 35 in the United States alone—not to mention a shocking number of children.
Protects From Future Dental Problems
The best way to ensure that your child’s teeth stay healthy is to start building a solid foundation early on. That means brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, starting as soon as your little one starts teething (no need to wait for him or her to show interest). Even if you don’t see much plaque build-up initially, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t more serious problems lurking beneath. In fact, studies have shown that just 1/2 of 1 percent of children who regularly brush with fluoridated toothpaste develop dental fluorosis—white spots on their permanent teeth caused by too much fluoride exposure. And while some may consider these spots unsightly, they’re actually harmless and won’t affect how well your kid can chew or bite down in later years. Plus, they’ll eventually fade away completely as his or her permanent teeth come in and replace them.
Give us a call to schedule your little one an appointment today.