Fluoride topics

Is Fluoride Safe for My Child?

Everywhere you turn, it seems like fluoride is always there. It seems almost unavoidable. It’s in the water you drink, the food you eat, the toothpaste you use, and even in some of the vitamins and supplements you take on a daily basis. Is it really safe for your child to consume so much fluoride?

Learn more about whether or not it is safe for your child to consume fluoride.

Is Fluoride Safe?

A simple answer to this question is “yes,” fluoride is safe. It is a natural element that can be found anywhere from lakes and streams to oceans and certain types of foods. In fact, it is all but impossible to completely avoid fluoride, as simply eating and drinking water exposes you to it.

Fluoride use or consumption has been proven to strengthen tooth enamel and can even reverse early damage caused by tooth decay. Consuming the right amount of fluoride can help improve your child’s oral health.

Why are Parents Concerned about Fluoride?

Parents aren’t so much concerned about fluoride as they are concerned about their children being exposed to too much fluoride. There are concerns that overexposure to fluoride can cause health and dental problems.

Overexposure to fluoride happens as a result of it being added to all types of foods, beverages, and dental products. If your child is getting the proper amount of fluoride from drinking water and eating a healthy diet, the additional fluoride in products could result in them consuming more than their body needs.

Should I Limit My Child’s Exposure to Fluoride?

Making the decision to limit your child’s exposure to additional fluoride is a personal choice and one that should be made on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as oral hygiene habits, diet, previous health history, family history of dental problems, and the type of water consumed (well water, bottled water, and tap water) will determine if additional fluoride is needed.

Prevent Fluorosis with help from Healthcare Professionals

Dental fluorosis is a term used to describe when the appearance and look of the protective enamel of the teeth changed as a result of consuming too much fluoride. Typically, this dental problem happens when younger children consume too much fluoride while their permanent teeth are still growing beneath the gum.

While dental fluorosis turns teeth a yellowish-brown color, it doesn’t actually cause any dental problems. It only causes teeth to appear stained or discolored. However, if you want your child’s teeth to remain natural looking and not appear to have yellow or brown stains, you will want to work with dentists and healthcare professionals to prevent fluorosis.

Working closely with dentists and healthcare professionals can help you determine how much fluoride your child needs. Once this is determined, you can take preventative measures – such as not using fluoride mouthwash or giving your child fluoride supplements – to stop fluorosis.

Determining how much fluoride your child needs can also help you determine if additional fluoride is needed. If your child is not getting enough fluoride with the use of fluoride toothpaste and by drinking fluoride-enhanced water, you may need to consider adding supplemental fluoride. Healthcare professionals and dentists can help you determine if additional fluoride is needed. They can also provide recommendations for how to get your child additional fluoride. One option is undergoing regular fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office or taking prescription fluoride tablets.

Discussing Fluoride with a Professional

If you are concerned about your child’s fluoride intake, call The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist. Our pediatric dentist will not only determine if your child is in need of fluoride treatments, but a checkup will be done to assess your child’s oral health and see if there are any dental problems.

Call the office of the Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment for your child. We look forward to welcoming you to our dental family and helping you maintain and improve your child’s oral health.

what is fluoride

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is everywhere. It is in the water your child drinks, in the toothpaste he or she uses, and even in mouthwashes, but what is it?

We will take a look at exactly what fluoride is and why it is an important part of your child’s dental care.

Fluoride is Like a Superhero That Fights Cavities

Think of fluoride as a cavity fighting superhero. Without exposure to enough fluoride, your teeth are left weak. Weak teeth are extremely susceptible to tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay over time can cause cavities.

Fluoride helps naturally fight cavities by building up the strength of the enamel on your child’s teeth. The enamel is the outer surface of the tooth. It provides your child’s teeth with the structure and stability he or she needs to talk and chew. The stronger your child’s tooth enamel is the more resistant your child’s teeth will be to acid attacks and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and cavities.

Early Signs of Tooth Decay can be Reversed with Fluoride

Even children who brush and floss on a regular basis may show signs of early tooth decay. Fluoride can help reverse the early signs of tooth decay and prevent gum disease or cavities from forming.

Each and every time your child’s teeth are exposed to fluoride it starts to slowly rebuild any weakened enamel. This process is called remineralization. The fluoride targets specific weakened points on the tooth’s surface and rebuilds it so it is strong enough to fight against tooth decay.

While fluoride does help to reverse early signs of tooth decay, it cannot completely eliminate tooth decay. If your child has extensive tooth decay or the enamel on his or her teeth is severely damaged, fluoride treatments may not be enough. In situations like this, a pediatric dentist can provide treatment recommendations that will help improve your child’s oral health.

Find Fluoride in the Water Your Child Drinks

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in almost all rivers, lakes, and oceans. Unfortunately, when public water companies filter water to get it to your home, the natural fluoride is eliminated. In an effort to improve the oral health of your child and yourself, most public water suppliers have started to add additional fluoride to the water. Additional fluoride increases fluoride levels so your child has some protection against tooth decay.

Additional Fluoride can be Found in Toothpastes and Mouthwashes

Parents who are concerned about their child not getting enough fluoride can purchase toothpastes and mouthwashes that have been fortified with additional fluoride.

If you use fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes with your child, it is important you keep these tips in mind:

  • Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Make sure your child spits out all the toothpaste
  • Use the proper amount of toothpaste for your child’s age. Children three and under should only have a small smear of toothpaste that looks like a grain of rice on their toothbrush, while children three to six should have a pea sized smear.
  • Use fluoride mouthwash only if your child is six years old or older. Younger children are likely to swallow it.
  • Purchase fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash that has an ADA Seal of Acceptance on it

Consider a Fluoride Supplement

Some areas don’t put additional fluoride into the community drinking water. This leaves children extremely susceptible to tooth decay as the enamel doesn’t get built up from the fluoride. People who live in these areas may want to consider fluoride supplements.

Fluoride supplements are available by prescription only. Typically, fluoride supplements are prescribed for children between the ages of six months and 16 years who are at high risk for cavities and who do not have regular access to fluoride enhanced water. They can be prescribed by a dentist or family doctor and come in tablet, lozenge, or drop form.

Fluoride Treatments are Administered at Routine Dental Checkups

Fluoride treatments are often administered as part of your child’s routine dental checkup. Professional application of fluoride can be done a number of different ways. Dentists can apply a fluoride gel or form directly to the teeth or they can administer a fluoride rinse. The type of fluoride treatment your child receives will depend upon their age.

The dentists and dental staff at The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida are willing to answer any further questions you may have about fluoride. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.


oral care

7 Mistakes Parents Make with Child’s Oral Care

A major health problem for young children that can carry over into adulthood is oral care. Studies by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that 42 percent of children between the ages of two and 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth. 21 percent of children between the ages of six and 11 have already had cavities in their permanent teeth. The cause of this problem is that parents are making mistakes with the oral health of their children. Here are some of the most common mistakes parents tend to make regarding their child’s oral health.

Letting the Child Brush His or Her Own Teeth

Whether it’s to save time or give the child a sense of independence, parents tend to allow their children to brush their own teeth at early ages. The problem with that is most children don’t develop the necessary motor skills to effectively brush their teeth until the age of eight. Prior to that time, parents should either brush their child’s teeth or, at least, supervise the child’s brushing to make sure they are getting a thorough cleaning.

Putting the Baby into Bed with a Bottle

The easiest way to cause tooth decay is to put the child to bed with a bottle. Doing this keeps the sugar and bacteria levels high which makes them extremely vulnerable to tooth decay. A survey by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) found that 85 percent of parents agree that it’s not wise to send a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. However, despite this knowledge, 20 percent said they do put their child to bed with a bottle.

Waiting to Take Child to the Dentist

A child should be taken to the dentist by the time their first tooth has erupted or their first birthday, whichever comes first. They should then visit the dentist at least once every six months from then on to ensure good oral health. Many parents simply wait too long before they take their child to the dentist for the first time. Because of this, it’s quite common to see two or three year olds needing to go under general anesthesia for cavity or infection treatment.

Food That Seems to Be Healthy

A common mistake that parents make regarding their child’s oral health is feeding them food they think is healthy for them but, in fact, is damaging to their oral health. These sticky foods with concentrated sugars like bananas, raisins, and whole-grain crackers will lay in the grooves of the teeth and form cavities on them. That’s not to say that these foods should be completely cut out of the child’s diet. After all, they do have healthy attributes. But to avoid potential cavities, eat them with meals so that there is more saliva involved. Also, make sure to brush thoroughly after eating such foods.

Lack of Understanding of the Impact of Cavities

Cavities in the baby teeth can have a major impact on the future oral health of a person. Baby teeth fill the necessary role of maintaining the space that will be filled by adult teeth. They also help the jaw to grow. A tooth that’s infected by a cavity has the ability to negatively affect the development of the adult teeth and will likely force the child to require sedation to treat any abscesses. In addition to affecting future teeth, cavities in baby teeth can affect the speech, sleep patterns, self-esteem, and school performance of a child.

Avoiding Fluoride

Previously, the American Dental Association (ADA) had said that children of two years or younger shouldn’t use fluoride toothpaste. But they made a reversal of that recommendation in 2014 when they stated that it was fine for children of such a young age to use fluoride so long as they used the correct amount. The decision of whether or not to use fluoride for young children is still a controversial one but research has shown the benefits of using fluoride as one of the best ways to prevent cavities. The appropriate amount of fluoride for a child of three years or younger is the size of a grain of rice. For children between the ages of three to six, it should be pea-sized.

Too Many Sports Drinks

Sports drinks and soda are not too harmful so long as the child drinks them in moderation. However, many older kids constantly drink sports drinks and soda throughout the day which leads to tooth decay. When the child is constantly soaking the teeth in these acidic drinks, it makes it impossible for the PH level to re-balance. Even if you can’t completely cut these drinks out of their diet, simply limiting the amount they drink will make an impact.

It’s understandable that many parents would think that baby teeth are unnecessary to take care of because, after all, they are going to fall out. But baby teeth are actually very important and keeping young children cavity-free is critical to their future oral health. If you’re looking for a dentist for your child, come to Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida.