Fluoride is one of the best ways to keep teeth strong, healthy, and protected against decay. But what is fluoride? Who needs it? How much do they need? We know you have questions, but don’t worry, everyone at our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to answer them.
Tooth decay is a serious problem among children, and one of the best ways to prevent it is with fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral found in nature. However, it’s also often added to water which provides an easy way to make sure we’re all getting enough. Fluoride works directly with growing bones and teeth to help harden the enamel. It can even help strengthen teeth before they erupt. This makes it pretty important for growing kids.
Fluoride comes in two forms — systemic and topical. Systemic is any form that’s ingested into the body, including water and fluoride tablets. Topical refers to the stuff dentists paint on the teeth. Chances are, if your drinking water is fluoridated, your child is using a toothpaste with fluoride (above age 3), and they’re in good dental health, they’re probably getting enough systemic fluoride. However, some topical fluoride may still be recommended and applied at preventive appointments. No fluoride should be given to anyone under the age of 6 months, including in drinking water. If you’re unsure where your water measures up, get it tested before using it for formula.
When it comes to fluoride, there is such a thing as too much. Dental fluorosis is one of the main concerns that can result from the overuse of fluoride. Mostly affecting children under 8, or for as long as adult teeth are still unerupted, dental fluorosis occurs when there is a change in the tooth enamel. Sometimes it’s noticeable pitting and staining, other times is nearly invisible white spots. It’s caused by too much fluoride over a prolonged period when adult teeth are still resting beneath the gums. You can reduce the risk of dental fluorosis by monitoring how much fluoride is in your water and choosing a different source for kids under 8 if yours has more than 2 mg/L.
If you have more questions regarding fluoride and your child, or if it’s time for his next appointment, give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call and schedule one today. We’re always accepting new smiles and look forward to seeing you soon!
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