Wondering If Fluoride Is Safe For Your Children?

We often hear parents saying they are worried about using fluoride in their children’s mouths. Some parents won’t allow their children to have fluoride treatments at the dentist. While as a parent you always have concerns about medications and procedures (as you should), there are many medications and treatments in which the benefits far outweigh the risks. This is true for fluoride. Given in the correct manner and amounts, fluoride has been proven to be very safe for a child’s oral health and can help to prevent tooth decay when used on a regular basis.

Fluoride contains fluorine, which is a natural element. It is a common ingredient in most toothpastes, mouth rinses and is added to many community water supplies. Research has proven that rates of dental decay have been reduced by over 50% in areas where water fluoridation is practiced. Fluoride prevents cavities by deterring the loss of minerals from tooth enamel and also helps to strengthen tooth surfaces that are weak and where decay may be beginning to occur. Fluoride also combats bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities. Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis in permanent teeth as they are developing. Fluorosis appears as white spots or streaks and in more serious cases can cause pitting and discoloration of the enamel. Should fluorosis cause an undesirable appearance, it can be addressed with various esthetic treatments. Products containing fluoride should be kept out of the reach of young children. Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day, after breakfast and before going to bed at night.

Toddlers and young children should be supervised by adults while they brush their teeth, to ensure that the amount of fluoride used is appropriate and safe. Children under the age of two should use just a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. Children aged 2-5 should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and they should be taught to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallowing it.

Topical fluoride treatments provided in your dentist’s office are very safe and offer your child further cavity prevention. It may be painted onto the teeth as a varnish, or it may be a foam or gel in a tray which is applied to the teeth for a few minutes. An in-office fluoride treatment is a smart choice for children who have a history of cavities, wear braces, or who are known to have a diet high in sugar or carbohydrates. Fluoride has been used for many years and has been a very beneficial aid in helping to prevent tooth decay. Parents should feel comfortable with fluoride use, when used appropriately and as directed by your dental professional. If you have concerns or questions, your dentist is your best resource and is your trusted partner in helping ensure your child’s optimal oral health. If you have other questions regarding your child’s dental care, visit my website at Haas Dental Associates for more information..