Fluoride

What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a compound that contains fluorine, a natural element. Using small amounts of fluoride on a routine basis can help prevent tooth decay. In areas where fluoride does not occur naturally, it may be added to community water supplies. Research shows that community water fluoridation has lowered decay rates by over 50 percent, which means that fewer children grow up with cavities. Fluoride can be found as an active ingredient in many dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, gels and varnish.

How does Fluoride prevent cavities?
Fluoride inhibits loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages remineralization (strengthening areas that are weakened and beginning to develop cavities). Fluoride also affects bacteria that cause cavities, discouraging acid attacks that break down the tooth. The risk of decay is reduced even more when fluoride is combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.

Will my child need fluoride supplements?
The pediatric dentist considers many factors before recommending a fluoride supplement. Your child’s age, the risk of developing dental decay and dietary sources of fluoride arc important considerations. Infant formulas contain different amounts of fluoride. Bottled, filtered and well waters also vary in the amount of fluoride they contain. Your pediatric dentist can help determine if your child is receiving and not exceeding the recommended amount.

How safe is fluoride?
Using fluoride for the prevention and control of decay is proven to be both safe and effective. Nevertheless, products containing fluoride should be stored out of the reach of young children. Too much fluoride could cause fluorosis of developing permanent teeth. Fluorosis usually is mild, with tiny white specks or streaks that often arc unnoticeable. In severe cases of fluorosis, the enamel may be pitted with brown discoloration. Development of fluorosis depends on the amount, duration and timing of excessive fluoride intake. The appearance of teeth affected by fluorosis can be greatly improved by a variety of treatments in esthetic dentistry.

What type of toothpaste should my child use?
Your child should use toothpaste with fluoride and the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Brushing twice a day (after breakfast and before bedtime) provides greater benefits than brushing once daily. Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent their young children from swallowing too much.

How much toothpaste should my child use?
For children under two years old, use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste. For those aged 2 to 5 years, a pea-sized amount is recommended.

What is topical fluoride?
Topical fluoride is a preventive agent applied to tooth enamel. It comes in a number of different forms. A dental professional places gels or foams in trays that are held against the teeth for up to 4 minutes. Fluoride varnish is brushed or “painted” on the enamel. Varnish is especially useful for young patients and those with special needs who may not tolerate fluoride trays.  Children who benefit the most from fluoride are those at highest risk for decay. Risk factors include a history of previous cavities, a diet high in sugar or carbohydrates, orthodontic appliances, and certain medical conditions such as dry mouth.

Content courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

default image

“My children have both been dental patients of Dr. Cobb for several years now. When my daughter first started going to Dr. Cobb, she had been through a couple other dental experiences that were challenging and frightening for her. She was young, fearful and very apprehensive about the dentist. Unfortunately, she was in need of fairly significant dental work. When we found Dr. Cobb, we were pleased from the moment we entered his office. His office staff are all friendly and caring with exceptional customer service. Dr. Cobb was incredible in his approach with my very timid, fearful young child. He made her feel at ease and comfortable instantly. His kind and gentle approach was very reassuring to both my child and me, as a worried parent. She underwent a dental procedure which required general anethesia and it went very well. Dr. Cobb has always gone above and beyond to check in with us personally after even minor procedures. As my son began seeing Dr. Cobb, he has also had exceptional experiences each time he visits the office. We have also been very pleased with the phenomenal dental hygienists that have been involved with my children’s dental care. Overall, our impression of the clinic and Dr. Cobb is nothing less than AMAZING. Thank you for being dedicated, compassionate folks!!”

The Higgins Family October 20, 2014