Fluoride

Child drinking water.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and is essential for proper tooth development and the prevention of tooth decay. Most of us have access to fluoride in our drinking water; however, it may not be a sufficient amount. That's one reason why we recommend a fluoride supplement for your child and/or the use of toothpastes and other dental products that contain this important mineral. Our pediatric dentist, at Children’s Dentistry of DuPont, can assess and advise if your child needs more exposure to fluoride to ensure a healthy mouth. Continue reading below for all the specifics about fluoride.


How Fluoride Helps

The protective outer layer of teeth, called enamel, is often subject to attacks from acids, which can be found in certain foods and beverages like sodas and citrus fruits. Additionally, sometimes decay-causing bacteria trapped in the mouth can create acid from sugar. This bacteria congregates in dental plaque and feeds on sugar that is not cleansed from your child's mouth. When the sugar is metabolized, or broken down, the bacteria produce acids that can eat through tooth enamel. This is how cavities are formed. When fluoride is present, it becomes part of the crystalline structure of tooth enamel, hardening the enamel and making it more resistant to acid attacks. Fluoride can even help repair small cavities that are already forming.


Delivering Fluoride to the Teeth

Correct amount of toothpaste for children.Children can ingest fluoride through drinking water or supplements, this will then be absorbed by their newly developing permanent teeth. Once a tooth has erupted, it can be strengthened by fluoride topically (on the surface). Our pediatric dentist usually recommends using a fluoride-containing toothpaste to make sure your child’s teeth receive fluoride exposure daily. We suggest using only a pea-sized amount for children ages 2 – 6, and just a tiny smear for kids any younger than that. Fluoride should not be used on children 6 months of age or less. At Children’s Dentistry, we can administer the most beneficial topical fluoride for your child right here in our DuPont, WA office! We can paint it right onto your child's freshly cleaned teeth and let it sit for a few minutes for maximum effectiveness.


How Much Is Too Much?

Newly forming teeth that are over-exposed to fluoride beneath the gum line can develop a condition called enamel fluorosis, which is characterized by a streaked or mottled appearance. Mild fluorosis takes the form of small white spots that are difficult to see. In more severe cases (which are rare), the discoloration can be darker, with a pitted texture. The condition is not harmful, but may eventually require cosmetic dental treatment. Tooth decay, on the other hand, is harmful to your child's health and can also be quite painful in severe cases. The risk for fluorosis ends by the time your child is about 9 and all the permanent teeth have fully formed. Our pediatric dentist would be happy to discuss how much fluoride your child needs and in what form, as his or her teeth develop.


Set Up an Appointment Today!

Healthy teeth are important at all ages, but especially for young children with newly developing permanent teeth. As a pediatric dentistry, we want to do everything in our power to protect your child’s teeth and ensure proper dental development. This development begins with fluoride. At Children’s Dentistry of DuPont, we can confirm if your child is receiving an adequate amount of fluoride, and if not we can administer fluoride in the most effective way. Please contact our office today to schedule a consultation for your child. Help your child develop healthy teeth for life!

 

Related Articles

Fluoride - Dear Doctor Magazine

Fluoride and Fluoridation in Dentistry The Center for Disease Control says that water fluoridation is “One of the ten most important public health measures of the 20th century.” Extensive systematic reviews of the evidence conclusively show that water fluoridation and fluoride toothpastes both substantially reduce dental decay. Learn why through the amazing fluoride story... Read Article

Topical Fluoride - Dear Doctor Magazine

Topical Flouride Fluoride has a unique ability to strengthen tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay. That's why dentists often apply it directly to the surfaces of children's teeth after routine dental cleanings. This surface (topical) application can continue to leach fluoride into the tooth surface for a month or more... Read Article

Tooth Decay - Dear Doctor Magazine

Tooth Decay — A Preventable Disease Tooth decay is the number one reason children and adults lose teeth during their lifetime. Yet many people don't realize that it is a preventable infection. This article explores the causes of tooth decay, its prevention, and the relationship to bacteria, sugars, and acids... Read Article