Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
Is Fluoride Used in a Children’s Oral Health Exam?
There are many ways a pediatric dentistry visit can benefit your child. Having their teeth professionally cleaned removes tartar buildup and reduces the risks of developing tooth decay and gum disease. X-rays and oral health exams help dentists detect potential problems early on so your child can have better options in their treatment plan. Scheduling routine checkups can even help your child avoid dental anxiety while building good oral hygiene habits.
Dental appointments can also provide opportunities for better protection against cavities with professional topical fluoride applications. While they are optional, most dentists highly recommend these types of treatments because they are an easy way to decrease the chances of developing a serious cavity. As a result, your child is less likely to need invasive dental work and can maintain better oral health overall.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is most plentiful in the soil and in water. Certain fruits, vegetables, and even seafood can be edible sources of fluoride. However, the amount you can get from food and most natural water sources is minimal, so it is often added to municipal water supplies. Adding fluoride to drinking water is an easy way to ensure more people can enjoy its oral health benefits.
The dental advantages of fluoride
Fluoride is absorbed by the teeth. When your child consumes fluoridated water or brushes their teeth with fluoride toothpaste, it strengthens tooth enamel and helps with the remineralization process. As a result, teeth are less susceptible to tooth decay and cavities.
Fluoride uses during pediatric dentistry visits
At the end of each six-month checkup, your child's dentist may recommend the application of topical fluoride varnish. This treatment is quick, easy, and painless and gives your child an extra boost of cavity protection. The varnish adheres to the tooth surface for improved absorption and is removed the next time your child brushes their teeth.
If your child has the first signs of decay in a baby tooth, the dentist may suggest using silver diamine fluoride to keep it from spreading. It helps kill bacteria and protect tooth enamel from further erosion. It can buy your child some extra time until the tooth falls out naturally or your child is ready for dental work.
Using fluoride safely
When used as directed, fluoride is completely safe and very beneficial. However, too much fluoride can discolor a young child's permanent teeth, creating a condition known as fluorosis. This happens when there is an overexposure to fluoride, typically over an extended period of time, during the years when the permanent teeth are still developing below the gumline.
Swallowing fluoride toothpaste is another concern. There is a high concentration of the mineral in these products and swallowing too much of it can cause stomach cramps. In extreme situations, excessive consumption of fluoride toothpaste can block the digestive system. To prevent these problems, always monitor a child when they are using fluoride dental products. Until they are able to brush their teeth without swallowing, use a fluoride-free training toothpaste instead.
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Fluoride is very beneficial when used in pediatric dentistry. Talk with your dentist about how to use it properly to protect your child's teeth.
Aiming to get preventive pediatric dentistry treatments can improve your child’s oral health. Natural teeth develop as the child does. Both baby and adult teeth help properly develop speech. These teeth also aid in the proper absorption of nutrients. That is why caring for them is necessary. Here are the details if you want to…
Looking for a pediatric dentist? Read on to learn more about the importance of taking your child to one regularly. Oral health is critical to overall wellness. Therefore, establishing good dental hygiene habits early in life is paramount. This dental health journey requires routine visits to the pediatric dentist. Besides treating dental issues, these dentists…