Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in some foods including some vegetables and grains and rocks and soil. It is extremely important for dental health, and tooth decay is often avoidable, thanks in part to using fluoride. Fluoride strengthens teeth and especially when they are developing, so it’s critical to make sure children receive enough fluoride to protect their teeth. Fluoride also helps teeth resist acid created by bacteria and slows the growth of bacteria found in dental plaque and which can cause tooth decay. However, the fluoride found in the environment isn’t usually enough to protect teeth which is why small amounts are added to public water supplies, and into toothpaste and other dental products.
The amount of fluoride added to products and public water is carefully regulated, and fluoride consumption has been scientifically proven to be helpful. There is little chance of an adverse reaction to fluoride, although dental fluorosis where small lacy white flecks appear on tooth enamel can occur when too much fluoride is ingested. Dental fluorosis doesn’t damage teeth and usually only occurs when young children are exposed to excessive amounts of adult strength fluoride toothpaste. When your child is young, we can advise you on the most suitable toothpaste to use such as low fluoride toothpaste and can show you precisely how much is needed to clean their teeth thoroughly.
Our dentists here at City Dental can make sure your child receives adequate fluoride to protect their teeth. Ensuring your child brushes with fluoridated toothpaste is one of the most effective ways to make sure they receive enough, but additional fluoride treatments can also be helpful. If we feel your child will benefit, we may suggest using fluoride supplements in the form of gel, foam, or varnish.
Applying fluoride topically to teeth helps tooth enamel to harden, and treatment is minimally invasive and entirely painless. Professional strength gel or foam fluoride treatments can be given in mouth trays, where your child simply needs to wear the mouth tray for a few minutes while sitting in the dental chair. Fluoride varnish is highly effective and is painted onto clean tooth surfaces and left to penetrate for several hours or even overnight before teeth are brushed to remove the varnish. Professional fluoride applications can sometimes also be useful in reversing the very early signs of tooth decay and which appear as tiny lesions on tooth surfaces.