Is Fluoride Safe For My Child?
A lot of parents wonder if fluoride is safe for their child. The American Academy of Pediatrics has said that “fluoride remains a powerful tool to prevent decay.”
Did you know that cavities are the most common disease for young children, and it’s responsible for millions of school hours lost each year. However, it is highly preventable. If you don’t treat cavities they can cause pain, infection, and loss of teeth. The good news is that you can prevent most cavities with good dental care and fluoride.
Why is Fluoride Important?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in all water sources, including oceans and lakes. Fluoride can prevent cavities in children and adults. Tooth enamel is the hard outer surface of your teeth, the enamel protects your childs teeth from the acid attacks that cause cavities. Fluoride helps to protect your child’s tooth. It also helps to repair any weakened enamel before cavities form and can reverse signs of decay.
What is the best way to get fluoride?
You can get fluoride in 2 ways:
- It can be applied onto the tooth’s surface
- When it is swallowed
It is best to get fluoride in both ways, to prevent cavities.
Is it safe to drink Tap Water that has added fluoride?
Fluoride has been added to public water supplies, for the past 70 years, to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay. Studies have proven that water fluoridation continues to prevent tooth decay by at least 25% in adults and children. Fluoridation of community water is supported by the American Dental Association (ADA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). You can read more about it here.
What is topical fluoride?
That is when fluoride is applied on the surface of the tooth. Toothpaste with fluoride and mouth rinses are one way your teeth can get topical fluoride. Your pediatric dentist can also apply a fluoride gel or varnish to your child’s teeth.
What are the recommendations of fluoride for children?
- Under 3 years: Start brushing their teeth as soon as teeth start coming in. Use a grain of rice size amount of fluoride toothpaste on the brush (follow the directions on the box). There are also different types of toothbrushes for babies, you can find more information here.
- Ages 3 to 6 years: Use about a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush. It’s important to help your child when brushing so that you can help them to reach those difficult areas and to teach them to spit out the toothpaste.
- Under 6 years: It is not recommended to use mouth rinses with fluoride for children under the age of 6.
BEFORE WATER FLUORIDATION, CHILDREN HAD 3 TIMES AS MANY CAVITIES
Are there other fluoride products I should use for my child?
Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when choosing fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, so that you know if a product is effective and safe. You can ask your child’s pediatric dentist for recommendations on what to use if your child is prone to cavities.
It is recommended that you and your children brush your teeth twice daily using fluoride toothpaste.