As a parent, you might be wondering how can I tell if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Fluoride is important for a healthy smile. That’s because of how it interacts with our tooth enamel. But before we explain that interaction it would first help to understand what causes cavities in the first place.
We all know that sugar and cavities are somehow related, but do you know how? The answer is simple. Certain bacteria in our mouths feed on sugar and other types of carbohydrates, resulting in the production of acid. This acid is harmful to tooth enamel and, over time, will demineralize a tooth, weakening it. A filling involves removing the decayed part of a tooth and replacing what’s been lost with some kind of filling material. A tooth with extensive decay may require a crown, a root canal, or it might need to be extracted completely. Fluoride helps to prevent all of this by remineralizing tooth enamel, shoring it up where it has become weak.
All of which means that anyone can benefit from daily care with fluoride, but young teeth are particularly vulnerable. With regular brushing combined with fluoride supplements (if needed) children can build a healthy smile that can stand up against the acid produced by sugar and starch.
It is possible to get too much fluoride, though, which is why it’s important to know something about how much fluoride your child is getting. During a regular checkup with one of our Kidtastic pediatric dentists, we can assess how your child’s smile is doing and talking to you about the normal oral care routine you have for her. Because many communities add fluoride to the local water supply, we can also talk to you about whether your child drinks tap water or bottled water. It’s been found that communities with fluoridated water have a much lower rate of decay than communities without. That’s because bottled water doesn’t typically contain fluoride.
Based on the results of your child’s oral exam, our doctor can decide if your child is getting enough fluoride. If not, we can recommend some changes to ensure that your little one gets the amount that’s most appropriate for her. If we think your child might be getting too much, we can recommend other types of changes. Too much fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis. This condition isn’t necessarily harmful but it does leave permanent teeth looking speckled or discolored. A simple cosmetic dentistry procedure can help patients with fluorosis improve the appearance of their teeth.
Do you want to know more about how fluoride can help teeth stay healthy? Is it time for your child’s first dental visit? Call Kidtastic today to reserve an appointment for your little one. During your child’s appointment, we can complete a thorough oral exam and cleaning. We can also talk to you about nutritional advice and important topics like thumb sucking or pacifier use. Both of these are normal for children of a certain age but should be discouraged in children who are older than three. If you have any questions about these or other issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We have offices in Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek.