Children are particularly prone to developing dental decay and cavities, and at Smiles 4 Life we use fluoride treatments to help to protect the teeth and keep them healthy and strong. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral that can often be found in public drinking water as well as in toothpastes and mouthwashes, has been proven to be safe and effective in minimizing tooth decay and cavities in children.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Fluoride treatments work to prevent dental decay by helping to reduce mineral loss and by strengthening the tooth enamel. Primary teeth, or baby teeth, have enamel that is soft and porous, which makes them more susceptible to developing plaque that leads to cavities. Many children also develop tooth decay and plaque on their permanent teeth. Fluoride treatments, along with regular brushing and flossing and routine dental exams and cleanings, reduce the risk of childhood tooth decay and cavities.
Fluoride Treatments at the Dentist
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children get fluoride treatments twice per year. This dental procedure is quick and painless, as it simply involves the dental hygienist painting a topical fluoride solution on the teeth. It is generally a good idea to wait at least 30 minutes after a fluoride treatment before rinsing the mouth, eating, or drinking as this allows the teeth to better absorb the fluoride.
Getting the Right Amount of Fluoride
Our professional dentists will monitor your child at every visit to determine if they are need of at home-fluoride supplements. Though most children get enough fluoride through community water supplies and fluoride treatments, some children may require a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse as a supplement. Too much fluoride, however, can cause dental fluorosis, or a mottling of the tooth enamel that appears as white spots, discoloration, or brown markings. The streaks and stains of dental fluorosis are permanent and may darken over time, and the risk for fluoride overexposure is greater for younger children. For this reason, we recommend that children under the age of two use an ADA-approved, non-fluoridated brand of toothpaste. Older children can use a pea-sized amount of an ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste, but they should be encouraged to spit after brushing rather than swallowing the toothpaste
Fluoride is an important part of your child’s oral health care. To learn more about fluoride treatments at Smiles 4 Life or to schedule an appointment, call our Columbus office today.