Fluoride is a mineral in toothpaste that helps teeth become resistant to decay, by protecting teeth from acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugar in the mouth. Fluoride also protects the tooth enamel while your child’s permanent teeth form and erupt.
If your child has had a cavity in the last three years, he or she is likely to develop tooth decay in the future. Because of this, it is recommended that you schedule biannual dental appointments with your dentist to ensure that your child receives additional fluoride treatment. Fluoride is beneficial to our teeth throughout our lives, and is safe, painless and quickly applied.
Although fluoride is good for teeth, you should take extra caution when helping your children brush their teeth to ensure that they do not swallow the toothpaste. Since most children’s toothpaste comes in delicious flavours, your child could be tempted to eat their toothpaste. While ingesting a small amount of toothpaste is not harmful, swallowing large amounts may cause stomach pain and intestinal blockage. Children who swallow large amounts of toothpaste will experience a high concentration of fluoride in their blood supply, adversely affecting the development of their teeth. This happens when too much fluoride enters the bloodstream and disrupts the cells that are forming the permanent teeth.
To protect your child from fluoride-related dangers, you should treat toothpaste like any other harmful household chemical and keep it locked up when it is not in use. It is recommended that you supervise children between the age of three and six years, to ensure that they spit out the toothpaste. You should also teach your child to use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Children under the age of 2 years old should not be exposed to fluoride toothpaste, unless it was recommended by a dentist or another qualified health professional.
For more information on fluoride treatment, contact a dentist in Cape Town.
Dr Corne Smith views on fluoride in kids: Even though fluoride application is a controversial topic, I believe that the application of fluoride in a safe and controlled environment can have significant advantages in the developing child’s dentition. Adult supervision is essential, and we suggest that mom or dad actually brushes their child’s teeth at least once a day up to the age of 6.
Delta Dental “Certain Kids Could Benefit From More Fluoride”
Rhoades Family Dentistry “Am I too Old for Fluoride? NEVER!”
Cari Free “Do Fluoride Dental Treatments Really Help Strengthen Teeth?”