Once cavities form it is time to come in and see your pediatric dentist because cavities that do not get treated can result in significant pain for your child, loss of teeth and even the spread of infection. The great news is you can prevent most cavities from ever forming with good dental care, regular visits to your kids dentist and with fluoride. Throughout this blog post I will go into more detail about how through the use of fluoride you can help maintain strong and healthy teeth for your children.
What is fluoride and why is it important?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that you can find in all water sources, including the oceans. Fluoride, along with proper dental care with your kids dentist, can prevent cavities in your child’s mouth. What the fluoride does is help to protect the tooth enamel from the acid attacks that are the main cause of cavities. It also helps repair and heal weak enamel BEFORE cavities form! As you can see already fluoride is a very important tool for a proper dental hygiene.
So fluoride is good, but what is the best way to get it?
We can get fluoride for our teeth in two ways: when we swallow it and when it is put onto the surface of the tooth. To help stop cavities from forming, it is recommended to get a bit from both sources. Just remember that more fluoride DOES NOT mean better! Pediatric Dentists use the word “optimal” to mean “just the right amount.” When you see your pediatric dentist talk it over with him to see the right fluoride needs for your child.
Fluoride that is swallowed generally comes out of our tap water. Here in San Antonio our tap water naturally has 0.3 parts per million of fluoride in it. The SAWS (San Antonio Water System) adds enough fluoride to bring it up to 0.8 parts per million, which is the recommended level that experts say is necessary for the protection of teeth against decay. You can read more about the water we drink here.
When fluoride is put onto the surface of your child’s teeth, it is called topical fluoride. Both fluoride toothpastes and mouth-rinses sold in stores contain topical fluoride. When you visit your kids dentist for a cleaning we will apply a topical fluoride gel and varnish to your child’s teeth.
- Children 2-6 years old: Use only a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on your children’s toothbrush for each brushing. Contact your pediatric dentist about using fluoride toothpaste before the child reaches the age of two.
- Children UNDER 6: should not use a fluoride mouth-rinse because they could swallow it, remember more fluoride IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER!!
In the end it all comes down to doing everything you can, and we can as a kids dentist, to prevent cavities from forming in your child’s mouth and fluoride is one of many tools to help with that.
If you have any questions feel free to call us at 210-888-0700 and speak with our kids dentist about the uses of fluoride as a part of your child’s dental hygiene.
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