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Are Fluoride Treatments Necessary For My Kids?

Are Dental Fluoride Treatments Necessary For My Kids?

It’s no secret that fluoride is a common, important part of your family’s oral health. Most public water sources in the US contain fluoride to help with general dental health. But what about fluoride treatments? To answer that question, let’s go over what fluoride is, how fluoride works, and whether or not your kids need fluoride treatments.


What Is Fluoride?

Most people aren’t aware that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. You can find fluoride in many different foods, water supplies, and even the earth’s soil. Fluoride is critical to reducing tooth decay. It is essential for young children, protecting them from cavities as their enamel develops. This is the driving factor in fluoride being added to most public water supplies because studies have shown that children who grow up drinking water with fluoride have far fewer cavities than those who don’t.

Did you know that dental cavities are the most common disease in children (and adults) globally? This is why fluoride is a vital part of your child’s dental practices. It’s an integral part of maintaining high-quality dental health for people of all ages, not just children. However, it is particularly important for young children as their teeth emerge and develop.


How Does Fluoride Work to Help Dental Health?

Fluoride helps prevent both cavities and tooth decay in your children by hardening their teeth before they even emerge from their gums. It also makes their teeth less likely to decay as your children age. Through a process called remineralization, fluoride helps strengthen your child’s permanent, erupted teeth, as well! Remineralization is crucial because the food we eat and the acids we produce can demineralize and weaken tooth enamel. But, fluoride is absorbed into the structure of your child’s enamel, reversing and re-hardening soft spots.


Are Dental Fluoride Treatments Necessary For My Kids? 

Well, that depends! Be sure to bring your child for a dental check-up by their first birthday and every six months (at least) after that. This way, we can monitor the development of your child’s teeth and recommend a fluoride treatment if needed. Overall, it is a smart decision to have your child receive fluoride treatment. But the real work is done at home! Be sure to always brush your younger children’s teeth with a tiny, grain-of-rice-sized bit of toothpaste with fluoride. It’s important to start small. You don’t want your younger children swallowing too much fluoride. 


Do I Need to Worry If My Child Swallows Toothpaste with Fluoride?

Don’t worry! You don’t need to be overly concerned. Still, excessive fluoride exposure can cause a cosmetic condition called fluorosis that is entirely harmless once your child reaches three years of age and uses a pea-sized bit of toothpaste. They’ll need a bit more toothpaste as their teeth emerge and grow, but they must spit!


Does My Family Need to Drink Fluoridated Water if We Brush Our Teeth with Flouride Toothpaste?

Yes! It’s still important to drink fluoridated water even if your family uses fluoride toothpaste. Drinking fluoridated water bathes your teeth in tiny amounts of fluoride throughout the day and helps prevent cavities before they develop. Additionally, studies have shown that brushing with fluoride toothpaste AND drinking water with fluoride adds to the benefits of preventing tooth decay and cavities.


What to Expect During a Fluoride Treatment

A fluoride treatment is quick, painless, and helpful to your child’s dental well-being. Our dentists will apply a thin layer of fluoride varnish to your child’s teeth. And the good news, the fluoride varnish is usually flavored and has a pleasant taste! Applying the fluoride varnish is fast and sets into the teeth very quickly. We may advise your child to avoid eating or drinking anything for a short amount of time after the application, usually around 30 minutes following the treatment.

While both children and parents may be uneasy or unsure about fluoride’s merits, there is no doubt that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. It can even reverse early-stage tooth decay and cavities. Fluoride treatments, drinking water with fluoride, and using fluoride toothpaste can be an incredible boost to your family’s dental health and overall well-being.