Parents who wonder if fluoride is safe for kids should know that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water, soil, and air. Fluoride is also found in many local water supplies, toothpaste, and other oral care products. Fluoride protects teeth and helps reverse early signs of decay. The government of Canada estimates that 57% of 6 to 11-year-olds have or have had a cavity. The average number of teeth affected by decay in children aged 6 to19-year-olds is 2.5. Therefore, fluoride is one of the best and safest ways to help prevent cavities in children.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth. It also strengthens weakened tooth enamel, reverses early tooth decay, limits the growth of oral bacteria, and slows the loss of minerals from tooth enamel.
How To Brush My Child’s Teeth with Fluoride
At about six months of age, when the first teeth start erupting through the gums, begin brushing with a soft, child-sized toothbrush. Your child will not be great at spitting after brushing, so use a smear of fluoride toothpaste. Once your child becomes proficient at spitting, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Continue to help your child brush until at least age seven or eight. A good rule of thumb to test for dexterity is tying the shoelaces.
What is a Fluoride Treatment for Kids?
Fluoride treatments prevent cavities by strengthening the hard outer shell of teeth, and they may even reverse very early cavities that have just started forming. A thin layer of fluoride varnish is applied to your child’s teeth. The Fluoride varnish penetrates the tooth enamel and makes the tooth hard. Fluoride varnish is a sticky yellow or orange substance that often has a pleasant taste. The varnish application is fast and sets quickly. Your child can eat and drink right after the fluoride varnish application.
Fight Cavities: Fluoride Recommended Amounts:
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following daily amounts of fluoride: Birth to three years of age: 0.1 to 1.5 milligrams (mg) of fluoride. Ages four to six: 1 to 2.5 mg. of fluoride. Ages seven to ten years: 1.5 to 2.5 mg. of fluoride. Adolescents and adults: 1.5 to 4 mg. of fluoride. Make sure to learn more about Early Cavity Detection.