A regular tooth cleaning routine is essential for good dental health, and is even more important in children as their teeth grow, to help keep the teeth decay-free.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water and helps to reduce tooth decay. It offers the following oral benefits:
- It restores minerals to tooth surfaces where bacteria may have eroded the enamel.
- It can also inhibit the growth of harmful oral bacteria and prevent cavities.
- It prolongs the life of the baby’s teeth
- It prevents gum disease and reduced tooth pain.
Okay, all of the above shows how important it could be. But for growing children, could there be any risks involved?
No, no risks. Fluoride treatments may offer even more significant benefits to protect the teeth. It is usually added to the enamel of the tooth in a process known as remineralization, usually from foods and water consumed which contain fluoride.
You do not have to be worried about your child drinking water or consuming foods that are fortified with fluorine. It is inexpensive, and one of the best beverage choices for kids, as it rather protects from tooth decay, as against sweetened drinks like fruit juice which contribute to tooth decay. Also, sweetened drinks can contribute to weight gain, of which on the flip side, fluorinated water is calorie-free.
It is just the perfect natural element for the teeth, especially in children as they grow and develop.
Another safe source of fluoride is fluoride-containing toothpaste. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a soft toothbrush is enough while encouraging your child, after they have become better at spitting, which is usually at age 3, to brush their teeth at least two times daily. Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste suds rather than rinsing their mouths with water. This is because it helps to prolong the action and subsequent effect of the toothpaste on the teeth.
You may also worry that kids of that age may swallow toothpaste. However, you need not be alarmed, as long as the recommended amount of toothpaste for your child’s age, which should be pea-sized as described above, was given, and then you supervise the brushing process to encourage spitting rather than swallowing.
Lastly, remember to schedule regular dental visits for your child with a pediatric dentist.
It doesn’t end there. Don’t forget that your child can get professional fluoride treatments from any kid’s routine outpatient or emergency dentist near you. These treatments come in the form of highly concentrates rinses, foam, gel, or varnish, and are applied the same with a swab, brush, tray, or mouthwash. These treatments have more fluoride than what is in water or toothpaste and take a few minutes to apply. A professional fluoride treatment is recommended at a dentist every three, six, or twelve months depending on the oral health status of your child.
Just like any medication, too much fluoride can cause negative complications. However, it occurs very rarely. Too much fluoride can cause:
- White specks on mature teeth
- Tooth discoloration
- Problems with maintaining the normal amount of bone
- Development of brittle bones
- Allergies and skin limitations.
On a final note, help your children take care of their teeth early, and also, as they grow older, encourage them and try to reinforce the importance of brushing after meals, as such good oral health habits will stay with them throughout their lifetime, also be sure to take them to visit their pediatric dentist at each designated appointment.