As a parent, you’re naturally concerned about your child’s oral health – and that leads to questions. One topic that many parents are unclear about is their children’s use of fluoride.
For example, you might wonder:
- What is fluoride?
- Is fluoride good for my child?
- If so, how much fluoride does my child need?
Our Carmichael family dentists are here to help, so let’s take a look at these questions, one-by-one.
The Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally here on earth. Fluoride can be found in both fresh and salt water, and in the right amount it can strengthen teeth and increase their resistance to decay. That’s why you’ll notice many toothpastes advertise the fact that they contain fluoride.
Because it aids the development of teeth and bones, fluoride is especially beneficial for children. For example, fluoride helps to harden tooth enamel. It also increases the natural resistance of your child’s teeth to the natural acids that appear when your child eats or drinks. This helps to prevent cavities, and in some cases, can even reverse the growth of early cavities, causing them to disappear!
The Right Amount
In parts of the Carmichael, CA area, fluoride is added to the public water supply. When your child drinks the water, their teeth naturally absorb the fluoride, automatically strengthening and hardening their teeth at the same time.
But that raises another question:
How much fluoride does my child need? Should they be using fluoride toothpaste too?
According the most recent guidelines of the American Dental Association, parents should smear a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste to brush their baby’s teeth twice daily, as soon as they erupt. Once children are three to six years old, you can increase the amount to the size of a pea.
But is there such a thing as too much fluoride?
Actually, yes. An overdose of fluoride could lead to a condition known as enamel fluorosis, which could lead to spotting or even severe staining and pitting of the teeth.
That’s why it’s important to meet with your Carmichael family dentist, so he or she can take a personal look at your children and help keep you informed. As part of a thorough examination, the dentist will determine whether or not your child is receiving the right amount of fluoride – and make sure the teeth and jaw are developing properly, giving you peace of mind.