Fluoride is one of the best things you can provide to your child to help prevent cavities from developing on his or her teeth, yet giving your child too much can damage his or her teeth. If you are not sure how to give your child enough fluoride without overdoing it, you may want to talk to a pediatric dentist. The dentist might suggest taking the following steps to ensure that your child's teeth are being exposed to a sufficient amount of fluoride.
Professional Fluoride Treatments
Dentists suggest sticking with two routine visits per year. At these visits, a child will receive professional teeth cleaning services, an oral exam, and a fluoride treatment. The fluoride treatment is typically in the form of a foam that is placed on the child's teeth for a few minutes, and it is not rinsed off. Afterwards, the hygienist may recommend avoiding food and drinks for an hour or so, because this gives the child's teeth a chance to absorb the fluoride.
These treatments are important for people of all ages, but they are especially important for children between the ages of six months to 16 years old. During this time, a child's teeth are developing and erupting. Being exposed to enough fluoride can help strengthen the enamel on teeth that are already through and those that are still in the process of forming.
Toothpaste With Fluoride
Swallowing too much fluoride is not good for kids, and this is because it can damage the teeth while they are forming. If your child swallows a lot of fluoride, it could cause him or her to develop a condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis causes spotting on the teeth; however, these spots do not typically show up until a child has reached adulthood.
Because of this, dentists do not recommend giving a child tooth that contains fluoride until he or she is old enough to spit it out after brushing. This might be around the age of two or three, but it will depend on your child and his or her maturity and abilities. Once your child can spit out the toothpaste, it will be safe to let him or her use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Exposing your child's teeth to fluoride found in toothpaste is a great daily habit that can help strengthen his or her teeth.
While swallowing fluoride is not recommended, drinking water that contains a certain level of fluoride is completely safe for children and is often suggested by pediatric dentists. If you live in a home that has city water, you can find out if fluoride has been added to it. If it has, giving your child this water to drink should satisfy the fluoride needs of the child. If your water does not contain fluoride, you may need to supplement for this. Here are some options you could choose from:
- Buy gallons of water that contain fluoride – Baby water is available in gallons at most grocery stores, and this type of water provides a safe level of fluoride for infants and toddlers.
- Purchase supplements – Another option is to buy tablets or drops; however, you may need a prescription to do this, and your dentist can give you one if he or she feels this would be a good option for your child.
Talking to your child's dentist is the best way to find out if your child is getting enough fluoride for his or her teeth. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of fluoride for your child, contact a kid dentist in your area, such as those at Neu Family Dental Center, today.