What Parents Should Know About Using Fluoride for Kids
Fluoride plays an important role in improving dental health and protecting adults and children against cavities. For children over two years old, fluoride is considered the most effective early-stage tooth decay fighter as it repairs the decay before it is even noticeable. Fluoride can repair tooth enamel, restore lost calcium and phosphorous, stop dissolution, and thus prevent decay, making kids teeth stronger than ever.
Despite the fast-acting benefits of fluoride for kids, it is still important to know how to safely use it. Learn the right way to monitor and maximize the use of fluoride for kids’ dental health to save costs, prevent serious oral health problems and maintain the winning smiles of your little ones for the years to come.
Fluoride for Kids
If the water system in your community is fluorinated, then your family already has access and is already benefiting from this cavity-fighting mineral. Community water fluoridation is safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. The American Dental Association cites studies showing that it can prevent up to 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared it as “one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
Fluoride is also widely available from other sources such as toothpaste, supplements and certain drinks and food products. If you’re sourcing fluoride from these items, remember the following fluoride safety tips:
- Use only fluoride toothpaste for children aged 2 years old and older.
- Teach your little ones to spit out toothpaste completely when brushing.
- Watch out against the ingestion of fluoride toothpaste. (Sometimes kids like to eat it)
- Use fluoride toothpaste sparingly during the early ages to pre-school age as too much of it can lead to chalky white or brown stains in the child’s permanent teeth (also known as dental fluorosis). A pea-size amount is the recommended volume for children using fluoride toothpaste.
- If using fluoride supplements, make sure to strictly follow doctor’s or dentist’s orders. General guidelines on the use of fluoride supplements include:
- Vitamins, drops and tablets fortified with fluoride are not prescribed to children under six months of age.
- Supplements are the last option – the doctor will first account for all other possible sources of ingested fluoride before determining the need to supplement.
- Supplement use must be done only upon the advice of a pediatrician and pediatric dentist.
- Your children’s diet should be reviewed to determine how much fluoride they ingest each day or within a period of time.
- Always read the nutritional label of food products you serve to your kids.
- Pay particular attention to the ingredients of powdered infant and soy-based formula, dry cereals for newborns and infant food containing chicken and creamed spinach. These products often contain high levels of fluoride.
- In drinks, the usual suspects are white grape juice and decaf teas. Also, look at the manufacturing region; if the drink was made or prepared in a location where the water utility is fluoridated, then there’s a huge possibility that the drink contains significant fluoride levels.
At Surfside Kids Dental, we are committed to fluoride safety with our patients. Be sure to ask your child’s dentist about best practices at their present age.
We hope you are having a tubular summer!