July 30, 2018
If you’re like most parents, your favorite smile is probably your child’s — and you want to make doubly sure it develops properly with clean and healthy teeth. Children are at a special risk of developing cavities between the ages of 6 and 14, when their permanent teeth are erupting and the tooth enamel is still developing. Fluoride can help to protect their smile during this time, but it is safe? A children’s dentist in Dix Hills covers this question in full below. In short: yes, in controlled amounts.
What Fluoride Does for Teeth
Tooth enamel is constantly undergoing two processes: demineralization and remineralization. The former occurs when the teeth come into contact with acids and bacteria that weaken it. Remineralization helps to bring the strength back to prevent cavities from developing. Fluoride can play a key role in the remineralization of teeth — which is especially crucial for children.
The use of fluoride for oral health is so widely recognized that this mineral has been added to most municipal water sources in the United States. However, if your family drinks bottled or filtered water, you are missing out on a major source of this mineral. You can also find it in toothpaste, mouthwash, and from your dentist’s office.
Is Fluoride Toxic?
Fluoride has proven to be extremely helpful for cavity prevention. It is so safe and effective that the FDA has approved its use in dentistry. But, in larger doses, fluoride can cause some adverse effects. Fluorosis is what we call the overexposure to this mineral, and children are especially at-risk while their tooth enamel is still developing. Fluorosis can cause white, chalky lines to appear on the surface of the teeth. It is usually non-harmful aside from this cosmetic effect, but should still be avoided.
How to Avoid Over Fluoridation
Talk to your dentist about how to protect your little one’s smile from overexposure to fluoride. The risk is slight, but it is still a good idea to educate yourself on the possibility to ensure that you can avoid it.
Your dentist can evaluate your child’s smile to determine the need for topical fluoride treatments; many children benefit from one every six months. Choose oral hygiene products which contain fluoride, but be sure to keep them out of your child’s reach. Many of them taste good and may be tempting to your child — but this can lead to harmful overexposure of fluoride.
Do you have questions about your child’s smile, and whether or not fluoride is the way to go? Don’t hesitate to talk to your family dentist about the pros and cons — in most cases, the benefits far outweigh the risks!
Meet the Practice
Dix Hills Family Dentistry offers comprehensive treatments and pediatric dentistry for children, including fluoride treatments for kids in Dix Hills. To learn more about fluoride and how it can help to protect your smile, do not hesitate to get in touch with the office by calling them at 631-673-8040 today!
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