Fluorine is a natural element that is found in the fluoride compound. It has proven to help reduce tooth decay. Fluoride is an ingredient in many brands of toothpaste, mouthwash, and oral gels. It can also be found in most public water supplies.
How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay in two ways: It reduces mineral loss from tooth enamel and it contributes to the remineralization of the tooth enamel.
When sugar and carbohydrates are consumed, bacteria in the mouth thrive on them. The bacteria produce harmful toxins and acids that attack tooth enamel causing tooth decay and childhood gum disease. Children who take some medications or produce less saliva are especially prone to this tooth damage.
Fluoride is most effective when it is used as part of a good oral hygiene practice. Brushing and flossing, reducing the consumption of sugary food and drinks, and visiting the dentist twice a year all supplement the benefits of fluoride and keep young teeth in good health.
How much fluoride is enough?
It is recommended that under the age of 2, children should use a non-fluoridated toothpaste. Between the ages of 2 and 5, children should use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. They should be taught to spit out, not swallow, any extra fluid in their mouth after brushing. Overconsumption of fluoride causes fluorosis which is a condition that causes white specks to occur on the permanent teeth. This is the reason that exposure to fluoride is limited.
Does my child need fluoride supplements?
An evaluation by your dentist is the best way to determine whether a child needs fluoride supplements. He will evaluate the child’s general health history, the sugar content in the child’s diet, and how much fluoride the child is currently getting. If it is determined that the child is at high risk for tooth decay and is not receiving enough fluoride, a fluoride supplement may be advised.
Fluoride supplements can be given to the child at home, or topical fluoride can be applied to the child’s teeth at the dentist’s office. There are many forms of topical fluoride, all of them are easy and painless to use.
Dr Yash sees patients of all ages. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s dental health please call or contact our office.