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Despite all efforts to teach good oral hygiene and keep regular dental check-ups, many children are still at high risk for cavities. In many cases, the problem can be alleviated through maintaining a healthy level of fluoride for young children. Many children receive as much fluoride as they need, while others can benefit from supplemental fluoride treatment. At Lancaster Pediatric Dentistry, we can examine your children's teeth and determine if a fluoride regiment will help keep your child safe, smiling, and healthy!
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that can be found in soil, water, other minerals, and certain foods. It has been found to encourage remineralization of teeth, a process in which fluoride accumulates in the damaged part of the teeth and strengthens the tooth enamel. In many communities, fluoride is added to water sources in very low concentrations to help keep teeth strong. It is also included in many dental products such as tooth paste and mouthwash.
Why is Fluoride So Important?
Because of its ability to remineralize, fluoride is a fantastic tool in preventing tooth decay particularly for children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists reports that fluoride can reduce tooth decay by 50 to 70%. It is crucial for babies and children between the ages of 6 months to 16 years to have sufficient fluoride exposure since this is when their primary and permanent teeth are coming in. Even babies who haven't had teeth erupt yet benefit from fluoride as it can help newly forming teeth grow strong and healthy. For children under 6 years old, fluoride also promotes the development of permanent teeth making it a challenge for acids to wreak havoc on the enamel.
Do Your Children Need Fluoride?
For most children, the fluoride contained in community water supplies and in tooth paste is enough to help protect their teeth. For some children, usually in communities without fluoridated water, a fluoride deficiency can leave them susceptible to cavities and other oral health damage. In rare cases, too much fluoride exposure can lead to a condition called fluorosis or other health problems especially in small children. Your pediatric dentist can determine whether your child is in need of additional fluoride treatment and the appropriate level for his or her individual circumstance.
Today's children's fluoride treatments are much more pleasant than they used to be. If your child needs some extra help to fight off cavities, Dr. Draney offers many options for in-office and at home fluoride treatments that will make sure your child receives just the right amount of fluoride for optimal oral and overall health:
- Fluoride treatments in the form of a gel, solution, or foam that are administered in our office; they can be applied by swab, brush, rinse, or a tray.
- Prescribing an effective fluoride-rich mouth rinse
- Supplements taken orally as a tablet, drop or lozenge
- More frequent visits to ensure adequate fluoride exposure
- Education about fluoride and proper oral hygiene including discussing the use of fluoridated water and brushing with proper tooth paste.
Schedule an appointment with Lancaster Pediatric Dentistry to find out if your children can benefit from fluoride treatment.