What is Fluoride?

What is Fluoride?

You’ve likely heard the dentist recommend fluoride treatments for your kids’ teeth. You may know it’s good for their teeth but you may not realize what fluoride is or what it does exactly. Fluorine is an element occurring naturally in the fluoride compound, proven to effectively minimize dental carries and tooth decay. As a main ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash, fluoride can also be offered in some municipal water supplies.

Bottom line is, fluoride is a key part of any stable oral care routine. However, ingesting too much can result in fluorosis, characterized by faint white lines, spots or streaks on the teeth, says the American Dental Association.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Fluoride can keep mineral loss from happening to tooth enamel, plus it promotes the re-mineralization of tooth enamel. When we eat sugar, oral bacteria feed on those sugars and create acids that are harmful to the tooth enamel. Children are especially vulnerable because they tend to eat a lot of sugar. And if they are on certain medications or produce less saliva, they are at a greater risk.

Repeated attacks on the tooth enamel can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and even periodontal disease. Fluoride acts as protector for the tooth enamel, reducing these risks. Fluoride is just one component of good oral healthcare. You should also brush and floss regularly, avoid sugary or acidic foods, and visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings.

How Much to Use?

Because over consumption can be a bad thing, it’s important to monitor how much your child is taking in. If your community water supply contains fluoride, as well as the toothpaste you use, you need to watch how much fluoride your child is exposed to. For example, kids under the age of two should use non-fluoridated toothpaste. After that, and up till the age of five, kids should only use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. Tell your kids to always spit out any extra toothpaste that remains in their mouth instead of swallowing it.

Should Your Child Get Fluoride Supplements?

This a decision that should be made between you as the parent and your child’s dentist. The dentist will likely ask you about other sources of fluoride, such as in your town’s water supply or in the toothpaste you currently use. After an exam and a thorough health history, your dentist will be able to tell if your child currently receives enough fluoride or needs supplements.

Contact Redwood Dental

Here at Redwood Dental, our dentists can determine if your child should receive supplements and if so, provide those treatments to your child on a regular basis. Call to make your appointment now at 800-462-2222.