February 12, 2015

8 Fluoride Facts

1. Fluoride Strengthens Your Teeth

Fluoride stops teeth from getting weak. Teeth get weak when they are exposed to acidity and sugar.

Fluoride makes teeth stronger. Teeth are hardier and less likely to get cavities.

Fluoride is antibacterial. Cavities are caused by bacteria. Fluoride reduces these bacteria in your mouth, thus preventing cavities.

2. Early Childhood Cavity – Silent Epidemic

It is heart breaking how many cavities we see in kids everyday. It is the most common infectious disease in childhood. It is 5 times more common than asthma. Early childhood cavities are the most common reason for surgery at BC Children’s Hospital.

3. Fluoridated Toothpaste and Fluoridated Water

As a pediatric dentist, I recommend that all children in British Columbia use fluoridated toothpaste. The recommendation is different in other places that have fluoridated water. For instance, Toronto has fluoridated water and children may not need to use fluoridated toothpaste if they drink tap water at home. In British Columbia, tap water is not fluoridated.

4. Professionally Applied Fluoride

It is important for your child to have a dental home and see the pediatric dentist every 6 months. When your child comes in for check up and cleaning, we check for weak white spots and place fluoride varnish to help strengthen teeth.

5. How Much Toothpaste Should I Use?

My Child Cannot Spit Out

Use a smear or rice grain sized amount of toothpaste to brush your infant and toddler’s teeth. It is such a small amount that if they swallow toothpaste twice a day, it is not a big deal.

toothpaste copy

Rice-grain Sized Toothpaste for up to 3 Years of Age

 

My Child Can Spit Out

Usually around age 3, they learn to spit out toothpaste. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste is appropriate for children aged 3 to 6. Make sure they spit out toothpaste and rinse afterwards to get dislodged food out.

toothpaste 2 copy

Pea-sized Toothpaste for 3-6 Years of Age

 

6. I Am Still Not Sure If I want Fluoride for My Child

If your child has no weak spots or cavities, I am ok with you using non-fluoridated toothpaste. But as soon as we find weak white spots on child’s teeth, I highly recommend that you switch to fluoridated toothpaste. If you want an all-natural organic option, many companies such as Tom’s of Maine carries anti-cavity fluoride toothpaste. At Playtime Pediatric Dentistry, we offer MI Paste, which is the next best alternative to making teeth stronger. It is a product that has milk-derived calcium and phosphate.

7. Some Kids Need Extra Fluoride

You are brushing and flossing but your child is still getting cavities? You might need to use fluoride mouth rinse or systemic fluoride tablets to jump-start your anti-cavity regime.

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry offers a guideline on how much fluoride children can have safely. It involves a bit of calculation, so ask Dr. Ella Choi if your child is getting safe amount of fluoride.

8. Fluorosis

Just like any vitamins or minerals, more doesn’t mean better. If too much fluoride is used, fluorosis can happen. Fluorosis presents itself as white or brown spots on teeth. If your child accidentally ate a lot of toothpaste (we are talking a tube of toothpaste, not just a bit of swallowing when brushing) induce your child to vomit or contact poison control in your area. BC Poison Centre 24-hour hotline is 1-800-567-8911 or 604-682-5050.

Disclaimer: this blog is not endorsed or sponsored

 

Dr. Ella Choi is a certified specialist in pediatric dentistry serving South Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Aldergrove in Beautiful British Columbia.

“Dr Ella and all her staff members are very cooperative, very polite with children and they're my daughter's favorite. - Jas K.”