We hear questions from parents about their children’s oral health all day long. One of the questions we hear pretty frequently is about fluoride and if it’s safe. So, let’s dive in and learn some Fluoride Facts!
What is Fluoride and is it Really Important?
Believe it or not, fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. And the amazing thing is that it can help stop cavities from forming!
Your children’s mouths (and all of ours) have naturally occurring bacteria. Tooth decay happens when bacteria process or metabolize sugar from our food to create acid. That acid can eat away at tooth enamel and cause decay. But never fear – fluoride is here to protect our teeth and help to rebuild enamel.
What is a Fluoride Treatment?
A professional fluoride treatment is a concentrated rinse, foam, gel, or varnish applied by your dentist – or sometimes pediatrician. The fluoride is applied with a swab, brush, tray, or mouthwash and only takes a few minutes to complete. This concentrated application of fluoride helps to protect teeth much more than what is in your toothpaste or water. Your child may need to avoid eating or drinking for a brief period of time after the treatment (depending on the type of treatment) so the fluoride can fully absorb into their teeth.
What’s the Age Recommendation for Fluoride Toothpaste?
Fluoride toothpaste is safe for children to use after their first tooth has erupted – according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And while it is safe, the overuse of fluoride can cause unwanted damage. Up until your child reaches three years of age, you can use just a smear of fluoride toothpaste to clean their teeth. After the age of three, a pea-sized amount is recommended.
Should I Worry if My Child Swallows Fluoride Toothpaste?
As long as you’re using the recommended amount of toothpaste for your child’s age, it is safe for your child to swallow a small amount. Remember to keep toothpaste out of the reach of your child, in case they decide to eat or ingest more than is recommended. If they do get a hold of it and have consumed more than the recommended amount, it may cause GI distress. Unless it happens often, there is usually nothing to worry about, but feel free to call us if you are concerned.
Should I Worry About My Child Drinking Fluoridated Water?
Short answer – no! There is no risk for your little one to drink fluoridated water. In fact, drinking water with fluoride is SO MUCH healthier for your child’s teeth than most other beverages. A lot of common children’s drinks, such as juice, sodas, and, sports drinks often lead to tooth decay and other unhealthy side effects.
Fluoride is Safe!
We love parents that are reaching out to ask us questions or doing research about their child’s oral health and development. Rest assured that fluoride is a safe way to help prevent tooth decay. If you have any more questions, we’re more than happy to answer them!