A family dentist is a dental professional that specializes in dental treatment for patients of a wide range of ages. They typically offer diagnostic, preventive, restorative, and cosmetic services, and they are designed to address the long-term dental needs of their patients. This review discusses four advantages family dentists offer their patients.Family dentists specialize in…
A Guide to Children and Fluoride Use From a Pediatric Dentist
When it comes to dental decay, a pediatric dentist may recommend fluoride use as a prevention strategy. Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases among children. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride for strengthening the enamel and preventing cavities.
How fluoride works
Fluoride works well against cavities via topical and systemic deliveries. It prevents tooth demineralization, promotes demineralization, and hinders bacterial metabolism. A study published in the Materia Socio-Medica found that fluoride inhibits bacterial fusion with the teeth. The topical application of fluoride provides the most benefits. Systemic use includes things like fluoridated drinking water. This helps solidify the enamel and promote its resistance to demineralization.
Fluoride stimulates the production of the mineral fluorapatite, which is essential to the development and maintenance of healthy dental enamel. Children's teeth are still developing, and fluoride may be used to strengthen the enamel of both primary and secondary teeth, making them more resistant to cavities. Remineralization helps teeth that have had mild decay.
Fluoride may help a child's permanent teeth, even before they have come in. The fluoride found in water and food can provide essential nutrients when teeth are still forming under the gums. The fluoride is administered directly and systemically after the teeth have erupted.
The acidic compounds in sodas, fruit juices, and candy are detrimental to the tooth enamel. Teeth acids are also created when sugars combine with tooth plaque and bacteria. Cavities form as a result of this mixture wearing away tooth enamel. Toothaches and even severe dental infections can result from cavities that reach the pulp.
Fluoride is an essential kind of dental protection for children because they often consume foods and beverages that can damage their tooth enamel. Parents can help fluoride do its job by giving their children a diet rich in calcium and other minerals and avoiding acidic foods.
Potential effects of excessive fluoride
Fluorosis is a dental discoloration that may occur in children whose teeth are subjected to high fluoride levels during tooth development. Fluorosis can leave surface stains on tooth enamel, even though it does not hurt afflicted teeth (and may even offer extra decay resistance). To reduce the likelihood of fluorosis in a child, consult with a pediatric dentist. Parents can take precautions to ensure that their children do not ingest any toothpaste when brushing and to be aware of the fluoride levels in the water supply.
The recommended type of fluoride
Pediatric dentists recommend the topical application of fluoride during tooth development. This includes toothpaste or varnish for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also suggests dietary fluoride supplements for children who do not get enough fluoride in their drinking water. The AAP recommends fluoride dental rinses for children above 6 years old, as they are more prone to having dental caries.
Fluoride toothpaste is recommended from the eruption of the first tooth. From tooth eruption until the child turns 3 years old, parents should only give their child a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. This is enough for brushing in the morning and at night. When the child is older than 3 or can effectively spit without supervision, they can be given a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Teach your child to spit after brushing. The water used for rinsing after brushing should be limited to promote proper fluoride contact with the teeth. Fluoride toothpaste should be stored away from children’s reach. Ingestion of toothpaste usually only causes an upset stomach but can require medical treatment.
Fluoride rinses can be helpful for children who are prone to dental cavities or live in communities without fluoridated water. Dental rinses are only recommended for high-risk children above the age of 6 who can rinse and spit without supervision. Parents should avoid buying rinses with alcohol for their children. Fluoride mouthwashes, supplements, and gels can be used to complement brushing. Ask the dentist before adding these to a child’s dental care routine.
This is highly concentrated fluoride that is applied topically on the teeth by a dental professional. Fluoride varnish is useful for significantly reducing the incidence of cavities. Dentists recommend that children should get varnish once their teeth start erupting every three to six months, though this can change based on the child’s susceptibility to dental caries. Applying varnish is simple and straightforward, so the child has nothing to fear.
Protect your child’s teeth
Be sure to limit your child’s fluoride use during tooth development, as it could cause fluorosis, which consists of white lines and streaks on the teeth. Proper use of fluoride helps prevent cavities and protects the teeth's enamel. Learn more about how to properly care for your child’s oral health by scheduling a consultation with our pediatric dentist.
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