Fluoride has the incredible ability to reduce tooth decay in both adults and children. It can help to repair minor tooth decay while decay is still in its early stages. When a child doesn’t get enough fluoride, it can lead to an increase in dental cavities and other health issues.
Is your child getting enough fluoride?
The two main indications of fluoride deficiency in children are cavities and weak bones.
The first sign of a fluoride deficiency in children is an increase in cavities. A lack of fluoride causes tooth enamel to become weakened, leaving teeth more prone to decay. While cavities do have other causes, including sugar intake and not cleaning the teeth properly, a significant spike in cavities may be due to a lack of fluoride in a child’s diet.
Fluoride levels contribute to healthy bones in addition to healthy teeth. If a child is suffering from a fluoride deficiency, they are also at an increased risk of weak or brittle bones. Additionally, elderly patients who are prone to bone breaks and fractures often have an underlying fluoride deficiency.
Fluoride is nicknamed “natures cavity fighter” for a reason. This naturally occurring compound can substantially reduce the chances of a child developing cavities. Here are a few simple ways to add the right amount of fluoride into your child’s daily routine include.
Encourage Drinking Water From The Tap
Fluoride has been safely added into public water supply systems for more than 70 years. Additionally, community water fluoridation has been proven to be safe and effective with consistent scientific evidence and studies. Having your child drink public water from the tap is the most effective way to prevent the most common childhood disease - tooth decay.
It is recommended that parents with children under the age of two incorporate a fluoride-free training toothpaste to prevent the risk of a child swallowing excessive amounts of fluoride. For children over the age of six, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used every time they brush their teeth. Children should always be supervised while brushing to ensure they are doing a thorough job and not swallowing any toothpaste.
There are a variety of mouthwashes specifically designed for children that contain appropriate amounts of fluoride. These products will help to rinse away sugars and left-behind food particles. Additionally, fluoride mouthwashes help to restore tooth enamel and re-harden soft spots on the teeth. Check with your child’s dentist on which product they recommend for your child.
If you’re concerned over the health of your child’s teeth, discuss professional fluoride treatments with your child’s dentist. This treatment can be performed in various ways, including a fluoride coating that is brushed on or fluoride foam trays. These treatments can provide additional protection against cavities for a few months following treatment.
Children and toddlers who still have their baby teeth can benefit from taking a fluoride supplement. Chewing these tabs are a great way to ingest a safe amount of fluoride while helping permanent teeth to grow stronger before they erupt through the gums.
As with most medications, vitamins, and supplements, too much fluoride can become harmful. Too much fluoride before the age of 8 when the teeth are developing can cause enamel fluorosis. This discoloration of permanent teeth can affect a child’s self-esteem for years to come and is challenging to treat.
If you have any questions about your water’s fluoride content, the fluoridated products your child uses, or whether your child is receiving enough fluoride, talk with Elite Dental & Denture PC.