Brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups are all good practices for keeping young and not so young smiles healthy. But what about fluoride???
The parent I meet are very interested in making the right decisions for their child’s health. I am often asked, “Should I be using fluoride for my kids?” I often answer that the choice to use fluoride is up to an individual. Parents need to understand the scientific information available. I understand that there are so many decisions to be made and parenting is not easy so here is the executive summary you need to make a decision and sound like the expert when a friend asks you your advice.
Historical Background: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is in drinking water in varying amounts depending on location. Early studies found that towns that had a higher natural fluoride amount in the water had fewer cavities. Cavities can be a big problem and a high cost to our society, so fluoride supplements were added to the drinking water in many towns across North America. This is still true today in cities like Toronto. British Columbia chose not to add fluoride to the water and as such we see a higher rate of cavities.
Fluoride strengthens teeth: Tooth enamel is 96% mineral. The acid from cavity causing plaque demineralizes the tooth. This is how a cavity forms. As cavities are forming, fluoride can replace the minerals that are being lost from the teeth. This means cavities occur less often and progress slower with fluoride treatment. Fluoride in children can even make for stronger cavity resistant enamel for the baby and permanent teeth.
There are two main sources that parents can consider to provide fluoride to their children. Fluoride drops can be purchased from the pharmacy. Alternatively a fluoride toothpaste can be used. This is my favorite because it allows the fluoride to interact directly and strengthen the teeth before being swallowed. The key is to apply a very thin varnish of toothpaste (NEVER A PEA SIZED AMOUNT).
If you have questions about your dental health or the health of your loved ones please feel free to give us a call at 6045532877 or come by the clinic for a check-up. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.
New York Times and American Dental Association: Dental Group Advises Fluoride Toothpaste before Age 2
Canadian Dental Association: Fluoride FAQ’s: