Many dentists recommend starting fluoride treatments at a very early age. In fact, in addition to dental clinics in Etobicoke, the Government of Canada supports the Community Water Fluoridation to help children of all ages lower the risk of tooth decay.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral released from rocks into the air, soil and water. As a naturally occurring element, it is seen in gas, liquid and solid forms. Fluoride is part of the calcium found in our bones and teeth. The amount of fluoride found in tap water, food and other beverages helps protect our teeth but is not enough to fight harmful bacteria that produces tooth decay and cavities.
Why Is Fluoride Essential for Kids?
The components of fluoride help to strengthen the outer portion of the teeth known as the enamel. The enamel is constantly exposed to the natural oral bacteria which can release harmful acids when starches and sugars are consumed through food and beverages. The acids erode the enamel causing cavities and decay.
Rinsing with water and brushing away the acids can help reduce the risk of enamel damage. In a perfect world, we would address this issue several times throughout the day by rinsing and brushing, but in actual fact, it is not always possible. Fluoride is a major contributor to protecting and strengthening the enamel.
Young children exposed to fluoride have a lower risk of developing cavities as the fluoride becomes part of the permanent teeth. As a key component in the act of remineralization, fluoride can help prevent cavities and tooth decay in children and adults.
What Exactly Is Fluoride Treatment for Kids?
There are different types of fluoride treatment for kids depending on their age and the recommendations of the dentist. Common treatments include using a tray with fluoride-filled gel or foam being placed on the teeth for a specific amount of time, as well as a fluoride varnish that is “painted” onto the enamel of the teeth. There is also fluoride found in rinse form.
Outside of the dentist office, your child may be prescribed fluoride tablets, specialized toothpaste or fluoride supplements.
What Are the Different Sources of Fluoride for Kids?
For most children, the highest source of fluoride is regular tap water with additional exposure through use of toothpaste and mouthwash. Trace amounts of fluoride can also be found in food, milk and commercial water that has fluoride additives.
When Should Kids Be Given this Treatment?
To reduce the risk of needing dental emergency services, schedule your child’s first dentist appointment at the age of one. The dentist will perform an examination of the mouth and teeth and discuss starting fluoride treatments. Dental services recommend two fluoride treatments each year unless the child is susceptible to tooth decay then they may need scheduled treatments every four months.
Benefits of Fluoride Treatment for Kids
The majority of dentists and pediatricians recommend that each child receives fluoride treatments between the ages of six months to 16 years. Having the fluoride treatments offer a multitude of oral health benefits.
Toughens the Enamel
While the tooth’s enamel is considered the hardest substance in the body, it can be damaged by blunt force and bad bacteria accumulation. Fluoride works to strengthen the enamel, protecting the teeth from cracking, chipping, and decay.
Restores Minerals in Teeth
The teeth are susceptible to harmful bacteria and sugars that damage the enamel. Demineralization of the teeth leads to severe tooth decay, oral disease, and tooth loss. Fluoride helps to restore lost minerals from the tooth surface.
Fights Against Oral Bacteria
Having regular fluoride treatments help to destroy bacteria that forms in the mouth from consumption of food and beverages, as well as from natural development. The bad bacteria develop and stick to the enamel of the tooth, causing gum disease and tooth decay.
Saves Future Dental Expenses
Fluoride protects the teeth thereby helping to reduce future dental costs to repair damaged or decaying teeth.
While there has been controversy with the use of fluoride, it is a safe treatment for children and adults. It should be noted that too much fluoride during the development of the teeth can cause white spots to form on the outer surface of the enamel. Dental fluorosis does not damage the tooth and can be treated with cosmetic services on permanent teeth.
Visit Princeview Dental for Children's Dental Services in Etobicoke
For a comprehensive dental plan for your child, see the friendly team at Princeview Dental Group. We help introduce healthy oral hygiene habits to children of all ages with gentle cleaning techniques and proper ongoing dental care. Book today for an appointment that accommodates for your day and time of day preference at (416) 231-4562.